The rain sweeps through the valley and the leaves and grasses sparkle. She just drives, drives alone in a quiet car with the rain dropping heavy on the windshield. She racks her brain to remember just who she is and why she is. She drives by just-harvested corn fields, where cows wander and pick through the remnants to find those leftover ears. She drives by seemingly ancient houses drooping under the weight of an old roof, and a barn fallen to its knees like an injured animal. She doesn't know what she's looking for but whatever it is, she won't find it out her window.
She pulls to the side of an out-of-the-way road and puts the car in park. Not one car in sight, no houses or buildings either. Just a fence, some fields, a stand of trees, looming hills, and the endless stormy sky. She pulls her Bible from the purse on the passenger seat and pushes her seat back, making room for the precious Words.
"I will..." she reads the familiar words on the worn and tattered page.
He will do so many things, it says right there in Zephaniah 3. He will save. He will rejoice. He will quiet. He will exult and He will gather. He will deal with oppressors. He will save, gather, and change shame into praise. He will bring in and gather together. He will make renowned and restore fortunes.
Not one word about her responsibility. Not one finger-pointing mention of her work in this covenant.
She exhales. Set free again, not from His demands but her own chains she has tried in insanity to strap back around her ankles. But then, what does He require of her?
Three days pass and she stumbles across these words:
This is the covenant of grace. I call your attention to the fact that there is no if in it; there is no but in it; there is no requirement of man made by it. It is all "I will" and "they shall." "I will be their God, and they shall be My people." This gracious charter is written in a royal tone, and the majestic strain is not marred by a perhaps or a maybe but dwells on shall and will. (C.H. Spurgeon in The Covenant of Grace).
No requirement of her but entirely based on His tender love, His sure goodness, His sovereign will and His perfect power to accomplish His will. What soothing comforts are found in these reminders of what the Good News is that she longs to live radically for.
She remembers back to the moment in the unmoving car, remembers the sun peering out from behind a slate-colored cloud and a rainbow bursting into view.
And there, in the clouds- just where the storm meets the sun - was a beautiful bow made of light. It was a new beginning in God's world... God's strong anger against hate and sadness and death would come down once more - but not on his people, or his world. No, God's war bow was not pointing down at His people.
It was pointing up, into the heart of heaven. (The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones)
That requirement she keeps waiting for, expecting it to thunder down one of these days? It. won't. come. There is none and never will be. It is finished.
Again she can open that clenched and grimy fist to receive His hand and all the love and blessings that go with being His child.