Forgotten Grace

The grace of God is all around us. We have grown blind to it. We take it for granted or forget completely what God has done for us. Recently, while at a family gathering, God reminded me of His grace.

My cousin, Dennis, told me of a time when we were children. One summer his family came for a week-long visit. His dad planned to help my dad build a basement so he could expand our four room house.

Someone drove the older children in to town to swim. Dennis, being the only boy, went to the boys’ changing room alone while my sisters and his sisters went through the girl’s side. He changed quickly, raced out the door and jumped straight into the pool. Too late he realized it was over his head. He hadn’t learn to swim yet and he sank down below the surface of the water. No one saw him.

While struggling he saw the ladder that went below the water line. He grabbed it, worked his way up and dragged himself out of the pool. It was amazing he didn’t drown. He went back to the changing room, having had enough of “swimming”.

No one saw, no one helped. But I believe God was watching that day. God saw a little boy full of life jump into danger. God helped him make it over to the ladder and get out. He showed him grace.

My sister, Nancy, told us of a time she was with our Dad while he fished. There were long reeds near the shore of the lake that disguised where the water began. At one point my Dad saw that Nancy was missing. He happened to look down to see her hair floating on the water in the midst of the reeds. He grabbed her hair and pulled her out. God was watching that day too. He saw a little girl wander into water that was over her head. God caused my Dad to look around for her before it was too late. He showed her grace.

My cousin realized too late the danger he was in, but his eyes saw the ladder and he had faith enough to reach out and grab the only thing that could save him.

My sister realized too late that under the grass was water, not solid ground. She had sense enough to not fight against the strong arm of my Dad who pulled her to safety.

But there is a greater danger than drowning and physical death. We are all weighed down by the sin that will drown us. God sees and God has provided a way out of certain eternal death.

John 3:16 reminds us… “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, but grace is freely offered.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” Ephesians 2:8

Physical life, though precious, is but a drop in the bucket compared to eternity. God is extending grace to each of us. Don’t fight against His good hand. Don’t close your eyes to His offer of salvation. His Son has died so we could have life.  Just as it would have been certain death for my cousin to turn away from the ladder, it means certain death for us to turn away from Christ, our only hope.

How will you respond? Will you ignore the ladder? Will you fight against the strong arm?

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

 

Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded sick and sore.

Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity love and pow’r.

I will arise and go to Jesus, He will embrace me in His arms.

In the arms of my dear Savior, O, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome. God’s free bounty glorify;

True belief and true repentance, every grace that brings you nigh.

Let not conscience make you linger, Nor of fitness fondly dream.

All the fitness He requireth is to find your need of Him.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Lost and ruined by the fall.

If you tarry till you’re better; You will never come at all.

(by Joseph Hart 1759)

I should have included this song in my last post.  When my voice returns I will try and record an audio version to be added here.  There is a modern/new tune, but I prefer the old one.

 

My Father’s Hands

I remember my father’s hands being rough, stained and scarred. There was always some new scratch or bruise from working on the car or tractor, or maybe digging in the garden. They were strong, busy working hands.

They could also pound out a song on the piano or play a tune on the violin. When we were sick one of his big rough hands would feel our forehead to make sure our fever wasn’t too high.

They were hands that picked us up when we had fallen or drew us pictures when the sermon at church got too long.

My sister, Jill, was the first to notice those same hands had become uncharacteristically soft and smooth with fingernails short and neatly trimmed. What had changed? I couldn’t like them this way. The months of cancer and paralysis had taken all the character out of them. They were no longer the hands that I remembered, and I grieved. A few weeks later he would go where I couldn’t follow.

As I look at my own hands they are not strong like his. They are more slender and not usually stained, yet they often get bruised and scraped when I am busy working on a project.

I see glimpses of my Father’s hands when I play his violin or feel my granddaughter’s hot forehead. But my hands are not his. And so I wait to see his hands again. Not the clean smooth hands, but the rough and stained ones, because those are the hands I learned to love.

There is another pair of hands I am waiting to see. These I have never seen with my eyes, but have heard about them since I was small on my Father’s knee. They are hands that were bruised and nailed. Hands that were those of a working man. Strong and rough and scarred. Hands that were given willingly to the nails so I could go free. Those hands that will never be soft and smooth again.

And so I wait to see those hands. The pierced and scarred hands that my Father taught me to love, oh so long ago.