Grace is a word we hear quite a bit, but I don't think we understand what it is like we should. I believe there's grace available to us every day of our life for every situation we have. And God is never going to put us in a situation or permit us to be in a situation without giving us the ability to be there with joy.
I've heard people say, "I'm staying in this situation because I believe it's what God wants me to do, but I am so miserable and frustrated and unhappy." But this isn't right because, for example, if God has asked you to stay in a difficult marriage, then He's going to give you a special grace to be there. And that means that you should be able to be there and have peace and joy in the midst of it all. People will look at you and think, I just don't know how you do that!
I believe that the attitude we live with—the level of joy, the level of peace, the level of stability we have—is what really ministers to the people around us. It's not our preaching that matters nearly as much as how we live in front of them, especially when things are not going perfectly for us all the time.
If you've been in this world very long at all, you've learned that there are very few days that go exactly the way you'd like them to. So until you learn that your joy can't be based on your circumstances, you're going to keep having what I call a "yo-yo" experience: up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down…
We have to find a way to be happy when circumstances don't suit us, or when we don't get a breakthrough as quickly as we'd like to, or when people around us are not what we'd like them to be and they're frustrating us, or when we're disappointed…
Here's the good news: There is a way! And it's by the grace of God. So what really is grace? A good definition is "God's riches at Christ's expense," but that's a little bit too spiritual for me. A more practical definition is "God's power to help you do whatever it is you need to do."
Grace is power, and we receive the grace of God through faith. The Bible says that every man is given a measure of faith (see Romans 12:3). So instead of trying to solve our own problems, fix things or work things out, we can release our faith by trusting God to take care of them. Then God's grace—His power—comes through that channel of faith and enables us to do what we couldn't do on our own, which will amaze us and others.
So here's my definition of grace: God's power coming to us freely as we put our faith in Him, enabling us to do with ease what we could never do on our own, without struggle or effort.
I believe that frustration comes when we are not really relying on God, leaning on Him and receiving His grace, because we're trying to make something happen on our own, in our own way. And I've learned a better way—depending on God for everything. Then the victory we need every single day of our life will come by the grace of God!