Finding Our Story in Christ’s

Editor’s Note: This article is a part of our annual Rooted Student Series, where high school, college, and graduate students share their voices, wisdom, and experiences in learning to be disciples of Jesus. This entire week (and a few more times though the month of August), we will share articles from students to encourage parents, youth pastors, and fellow students in their own walks with Christ.  

Earlier this summer when I was asked to write an article for this series on a “Story of Grace,” I was thrilled. Writing for Rooted has been a highlight of my summer breaks, and I couldn’t wait to get started. Upon receiving this simple prompt as my guide, I set out to discover what my story of grace might be. Yet shortly after beginning I found myself struggling to write in a way I never have before. With a guidepost like this, one would expect me to draw upon my past experiences to weave a story about a time when our Lord Jesus Christ proved himself faithful to me in a special way—something I did two years ago when I shared the experience of losing my great-grandmother. 

This time, however, something feels different. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, our entire world has changed. Unlike the previous two summers of writing, this article comes in the midst of the most tumultuous year of my life and the lives of many others. A global pandemic is sweeping across every corner of the earth, political partisanship is reverberating throughout our country in an election year, and deep social unrest is fulminating from gross injustices that are oozing through the fabric of our society. And as if that is not enough, the people of God haven’t been able to gather together for months—months.

With all of this whirling around me, I’m finding it harder than ever to see God’s grace everyday. It’s difficult to find God at work when the whole world seems to be falling apart. Where is God’s presence when our social media feeds are full of self-righteous mudslinging at those who don’t hold our opinions on politics, societal ails, or the pandemic? And how are we to find Christ at work when we cannot even fully gather as God’s people, reminding each other of the good news of Christ’s work, tasting of it in the Lord’s Supper, and being filled with his presence in fellowship with other believers? Where’s the grace in our story here?

Just facing the reality of our moment in history and asking these questions is paralyzing enough. Yet at the very moment I face my spiritual paralysis, I can turn away from my frustrations, fears, and questions by looking toward the One who raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, and announced God’s presence among his broken and scattered people: Jesus. In doing so, I remember the glorious truth that my story of grace isn’t completely mine—it belongs to Christ and all of his church. 

All that I have, I have because of “the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). In this time of unrelenting strife, when I often feel like I can’t get above a C+ on my spiritual report card, I remember that I don’t have a spiritual report card to be concerned with. Any report regarding me before God the Father is “well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). This is not because I am incredibly good and faithful, but because I have been beautifully united to the One who is. 

In our present despair we have the freedom to come to Jesus Christ because he first came to us in his life, death, and resurrection. Indeed, all that Christ endured was completely for us. From his perfect fellowship with the Father, Christ took on our frail humanity, ushering in the kingdom of God by scandalously forgiving sinners, healing the sick, proclaiming freedom to the oppressed, and walking in complete obedience to the cross, where he endured the greatest depths of isolation from the Father. All of which was done, as the Nicene Creed remind us, “for us and our salvation.” And on the third day he rose again, trampling Sin and Death forever, uniting us to himself by the Holy Spirit. Even now, as T.F. Torrance says, Christ is gathering “up all our faltering, unclean worship and prayer into himself,” perfecting it before God the Father.

This is the story of grace in my life and story of the entire Christian church. As isolation from our siblings in Christ continue, doubts about God’s presence linger, and paralyzing fears from newsrooms, injustices, elections, and a quarantine-inducing virus carry on, we have hope because Israel’s God has so united himself to us in his Son that even “if we are faithless he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). We are so united to Christ that for God to abandon us, he would have to abandon himself; something that cannot be done. 

Therefore, as those who cannot be forsaken by God, we have promises that our challenges of today will be avenues of God’s saving grace tomorrow. To those whose families have tasted death from COVID-19, Christ promises divine comfort (Matthew 5:4). To those whose spirits are crushed under the weight of injustice in this world, Christ’s kingdom-creating words carry on even today: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind and to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). Finally, to anxieties stemming from escalating polarization in the political sphere, Christ offers a simple promise: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7). 

Thus, in this time when I am isolated from fellowship with other believers, struggling to see God working in our world, and unable to find a clear story of grace in my own life, I must look to Jesus’s story and find myself in my savior. As one who belongs to Christ, I find my story of grace in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Here Jesus is working and weaving a cosmic story of redemption all of his people are caught up in. This story begins before time and will outlast all the ails of our world now. Therefore, brothers and sisters, may we all abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good (Romans 12:9), and together as the people of God fix “our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and [who] has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Our story of grace is Christ’s story and his bright light is just over the horizon. 

Soli Deo Gloria.  


Follow Rooted’s annual student series on the blog this week and throughout the month of August, and check out all our student series articles from over the years here.

1 Thomas F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ (Colorado Springs, CO: Helmers & Howard, 1992), 88.

JD Tyler is a 2019 graduate of Samford University, where he studied Religion and Communication Studies. He returns to Princeton Theological Seminary for his second year in the fall. JD has served on the college ministry staff at Iron City Church in downtown Birmingham, AL.

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