Approaching the Throne of Grace (by Elder Ben Wu)

As I’m writing this, our hometown Golden State Warriors just got eliminated from the NBA playoffs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Although it was exciting to see them advance in the postseason this year, for most of us who have been following the team this season, we knew in the back of our minds that the Dubs’ run in the playoffs was bonus basketball. The team never really played at a high level consistently all season so any extra playoff games we got to witness were just icing on the cake. Still, it really hurts to lose, especially to our cross-state, purple and gold wearing rival.

Just a couple of months ago, my UCLA Bruins lost to the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Bruins had a spectacular regular season so for them to lose a close game to our perennial postseason rival was painfully disappointing. Our team of experienced seniors was expected to carry the Bruins to a potential championship this year, but we were woefully eliminated much earlier than fans predicted. For both teams, it’s a dreadful time of defeat. It will take a full painstaking year of recruiting top talent, re-building the program, and reflecting on what could have been.

This feeling of dejection is familiar to all of us, not only as sports fans, and might even reach deeper in other aspects of life. Some of us might be experiencing setbacks in relationships with family members; others might be facing unprecedented financial challenges due to a bad investment; some might not have gotten into their dream school they had set their minds on; and others yet could be goingthrough a devastating challenge that they cannot bear to share with even the most trusted friend.

In these times, I look to the book of Hebrews, which reminds us that as New Covenant believers in Jesus Christ, we have the unique privilege to have direct access to our God of comfort. The author writes in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” In contrast to ancient rulers who were unapproachable by anyone but the highest advisers, we can go before the Lord and come confidently before His throne to receive mercy and grace through Jesus Christ. Immediately. No questions asked. He desires for us to draw near to Him in our time of need.

Later in verses 10:35-36, the author writes, “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” God knows that we will, at some point, be downtrodden, deflated, and persecuted. We’re encouraged to persevere and not flee from our identity and privilege in Christ. And not only that, but we’re reminded that there is a heavenly reward awaiting us if we trust in Christ fully, especially when the going gets tough.

SanLo family, if you are feeling the weight of defeat, let us go before the Lord at His throne of grace. No need to wait a full year, or even a season, to figure things out on your own. God is near, and He delights when we call out to Him as His beloved.