God’s Grace; February 4, 2020

Romans 9:20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'”

Paul writes about the illogicality of this, but people do it all the time. Probably everyone has been dissatisfied with some innate characteristic of theirs at some point at least. Teenagers are noted for this, but they certainly don’t have a monopoly on it. Many people would like to be taller, but there are times when height is a disadvantage. Many people would like to be better looking, by whatever standard, but vanity is a terrible snare. Many people would like to be more gifted, but “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) The flip side of that is, people want to be instantly skillful, when virtually every skill requires a lot of practice and diligence. The big issue in all of this is that we fail to recognize God’s grace toward us. When something happens to us that we don’t like we are quick to say, “Why me?” Rather, we should be saying, as Chris Kristofferson sang, “Why me, Lord? What have I ever done to deserve even one of the blessings You gave?” This is closely tied to the whole matter of salvation. Until we realize that our attitudes and actions have made us worthy of hell, we aren’t going to repent and believe for our salvation. Humility is vitally important but often in short supply. Asking, “why,” is not wrong. Actually, it’s one of the more valuable traits God has given mankind. That question has been at the root of the vast majority of the discoveries, scientific and otherwise, made throughout human history. However, our questions need to be made with a fundamental awareness that we are created beings, and our Creator loves us and has good plans for us. Refusing that automatically puts us on the wrong side of eternity.

I’ve certainly walked through this issue! As a teenager I wanted to be more socially adept, not to mention skillful at sports, but the flip side of that was that I took my gifts for granted, and even looked down on others who didn’t have them. Human beings are so foolish! Blessed with a marvelously faith-filled home, I devolved into a spiritual pride that could have destroyed me, had God not been merciful. Over the years God has blessed me in countless ways, and today I am remarkably healthy for my age. That’s not to say there aren’t many things that I wish were different, but one time over 20 years ago when I was thinking that way, the Lord spoke to me very clearly, “How do you think I feel?” That was only the second time I had heard Him speak in what could have been audible words (though they were not audible to anyone else) and I will never forget the experience. I have to accept that there are many things to which I will not know the answer in this life, but that God’s already taken care of on the eternal scale. Things may be a mess now, but they will end up perfect, and I am to walk in peace even in the middle of the mess.

Father, I didn’t expect this to go this direction when I started! Thank You for not being limited to my expectations. Thank You for Your grace to all mankind, and especially for Your grace to me. Help me respond fully to that grace, extending it freely to those around me so that they too may turn to You in repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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