Friday, April 15, 2011
It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was a kid in church half-heartedly paying attention to the sermons. My sister and I would restlessly entertain ourselves in the pews while everyone else sat seriously still. I remember one time, during communion, we started playing with the crackers and giggling under our breath, feeling no shame for that holy moment. It was my sister that was the instigator of most of our mischief. I would hop on board, with her as captain, and then I’d instantly start worrying about getting into trouble, while she blissfully enjoyed the ride of rebellion.
I would test the boundaries, like all children do, but I always felt a heavy sense of conviction afterwards. I just had more moments of seriousness, than whimsical freedom. I wanted a deeper understanding of spiritual things and of God. I liked church. I enjoyed the worship songs and listening to my mom & dad sing favorites like “Amazing Grace” and “That Old Rugged Cross”. But I never paid much attention to the words, as much as how it made me feel. I would often wonder, “what’s so amazing about grace?”
As I got older, my intent to make good decisions increased, but so did the resistance. I found myself making more mistakes than I want to admit. Each time I’d tell myself “I’ll never do that again”, circumstances would inevitably lead me to another opportunity to recover, but not without the risk of failure and knowing that I couldn’t do it on my own. That’s when I discovered the meaning of that beautiful hymn. “Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace , my fears relieved. How precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first believed”.
Grace happened when I stopped thinking I could do it all by myself. When I was too tired to take another step on my own and I let God pick me up and carry me. When I finally acknowledged that I am nothing without Him. I couldn’t earn it and I would never know how amazing it was until I humbled myself, asked and received.
I know I will still make mistakes, because I am human. I must daily deny myself (Luke 9:23) But it is grace that makes beauty from my ashes. It erases the slate so I don’t have to look back at my failure, but instead I can look forward at redemption and the hope of one day being made perfect.
Grace IS Amazing!