Only by God’s Grace…

Yesterday was a rough day. I went to my uncle’s funeral. My aunt lost her sister and husband in the space of less than a month. My heart breaks for her and my cousins.

I start to thinking about the age-old question, “Why does God allow suffering?” But I think we have it backwards when we ask that question. See, the consequence of sin is death. The reason that bad things happen in this world is our own doing. We truly live in a sinful and fallen world, far from what God intended for us. God has provided a way for us to be forgiven, but there are still the consequences of our sin to contend with. That’s a rather humbling thought for me. I can’t honestly ask God why He would allow bad things to happen to me, or why He allows the death of loved ones, because it’s just the natural consequence of sin.

At the same time, this also brings home the significance of living in a place with no sin. I have a better grasp of how truly wonderful being finally free of my sinful nature will be. The thing that causes all of the death, pain and suffering here on Earth, will not even exist in Heaven. I will live in a holy place, in the very presence of the Holy One. That truly is humbling. I’m amazed all over again that God would care enough for one such as I, to go through everything He did to secure my salvation. Absolutely incomprehensible. Who among man could ever begin to comprehend the grace of God? Certainly not I.

Joni Ericson Tada once said that the thing she most looked forward to was not a new body, but a new heart. I am beginning to understand that statement. I too long for a new heart, one free of sin. I strive and struggle against my own sinful heart daily, and I am ashamed to admit how often my flesh wins the struggle. It truly is only by the work of God in me that there is anything good in my life.

I’ve seen a t-shirt with the caption, “I am the wretch the song refers to.” It references the line in Amazing Grace, “Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound! That saved a wretch like me.” That line is gaining a deeper meaning for me as I grow.

Too often we hear about the importance of self-esteem. However, I think it is better for us to take a realistic look at ourselves and realize how great the work of grace is in us. That’s the sort of thing Mom would have said. Reminding me that it is only by God’s grace…

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