Deep Grace; September 23, 2022

Psalm 109:21 But you, O Sovereign Lord,
deal well with me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.

Reading the last third of this Psalm I was sure it was by David, even before checking the attribution at the beginning. David went through a lot, but God allowed it to teach David more about Himself. I like the Japanese here. Just yesterday I discussed why Japanese translations of the Bible seldom use “love” in the Old Testament, but here the reading really touches me. Where the NIV says, “the goodness of Your love,” the Japanese says, “because Your grace is truly deep.” In English we don’t often speak of “deep grace,” but the Japanese Old Testament uses that construction in standard descriptions of God. What is different about what David says here is the word, truly. David is saying, “This isn’t just a conventional expression. Your grace/love is the real deal.” People who have been raised in a Christian culture in particular need to learn that all the nice things we say about God aren’t just truisms and polite expressions, they are based on absolute truth. This is closely linked to James’ famous admonition: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) If we never go through trials, our faith is about as deep as the paper the Bible is printed on, essentially 2-dimensional. It is when we experience the depth of God’s grace that our faith in turn takes on depth.

Cathy and I are on a real “deepening exercise” right now. She came home from the hospital yesterday, but the procedure she underwent on Wednesday didn’t really help, and her pain level is extreme, though thankfully not constant. Because of the design of the combined church/pastorium building, our living quarters are on the 2nd floor but the kitchen is on the 1st. Mobility is a major issue at this point. Cathy managed somehow to make it upstairs after we got home, but at this point even getting in and out of bed is a major issue because of the pain. I am faced with the conflict of her very real needs and my external obligations. We are in need of a miracle! I have a wedding to perform tomorrow, the church service on Sunday, and immediately following that, I need to go to another church to perform the engagement ceremony of the pastor and his fiancée. Monday I’m supposed to go to another town for a meeting, and the list goes on. In all of this, we know that God has not changed, and we need to be open to how He wants to change us. That can be a hard one! We are indeed praying with David, “Deliver us!”

Father, thank You for this experience. I certainly can’t say it’s pleasant, but I know that You will use it for our good. Thank You for the very strong awareness that Cathy and I are one and not two; her pain impacts me deeply. Help us both focus on You more than on our circumstances, or even our own bodies. May all of Your purposes for allowing this, and no other, be fulfilled on Your schedule for 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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