I’ve experienced death here lately.
In the last few weeks I’ve seen my job die a slow painful death. The position I once held there was killed by a medical condition I’ve always had. Miraculously, though, I was able to do the job for over four years without much trouble. But when trouble came, it gave me pause and In the end, considerable grief.
My purpose I here isn’t to whine about how painful my life is. I’m not bitter. I still like the people I work with a little while longer. The truth is in light of everything, they’ve really been most gracious. I’m deeply thankful for that.
No doubt you’ve experienced pain. Everyone bleeds when they get cut. We’ve all had grief when someone we love gets terminal cancer and dies. When life hands us a sucker punch, we all double over from the impact.
There’s a lot of talk about grace in the church today. And if you read what I just wrote about control, then you can see what a balm grace is in a world of people who would steal your freedom.
Maybe you’ve been in church for years, heard the Gospel, and even sung about grace. But do you really know what it is? Grace is getting what you don’t deserve and could never earn. And in the grand scheme of things, the object of our longing is to be right with God. Not only that, but to know that God isn’t out to get us when we fail. We yearn deep inside to know the security of not having to always look over our shoulder, wondering when the Cosmic Policeman will arrest us for the least infraction.
To know this security means we must understand where we all stand. If we did get what we deserved, we’d all be dead. Romans 3:23 tells us we’ve all sinned. None of us is really good. Nobody, not even Mother Teresa, will bypass the stain of sin. Turn a few pages to Romans 6:23 for the consequences. The wages of sin is death. Therefore, since we’ve all sinned, we all deserve death.
It gets worse.
Psalm 51:5 informs us that we are “conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity.” This came from the pen of King David, a “man after God’s own heart”! So, the fact that we weren’t punished at birth by being stillborn is testimony to the mercy of a Holy God.
Listen to me now. You can’t handle this truth when the pain is so deep that you feel like you’ll die. But if you learn it when your mind is clear and the pain is distant, you’ll understand that when your best friend gets cancer, it’s horrible – but in light of what we all deserve, God is still merciful, good, and loving in the midst of it all.
Will pain still hurt? Yeah. Will tragedies still seem unjust? Absolutely. While we will never have the answers as to why, if we can grasp that every day we live, breathe, have success and happiness, and enjoy sunshine is a free gift from God, we will have a better perspective about it all.
Think about that and enjoy the sunshine, your friends, and the life you have.