Were it not for Grace: Part Five

“It is because of the cross that we know God is not absent from our suffering and pain. It is because of the cross that we can experience forgiveness and reconciliation and peace with God.
As we witness the evil and pain in this world, we too cry out Abba! Abba! God does not give us an explanation. He gives us Himself.
The cross is God’s answer to our cry.”

Paul wrote to the NT believers: I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. It’s sometimes hard to reconcile that God is a God of grace and yet there is so much pain and suffering. To the inquirer wanting concrete evidence of a good God, it’s probably not an acceptable conclusion, but I have discovered more and more that Christianity does not answer the question of Why? certain things happen to some people. It only answers Who? provides us with deliverance. And deliverance isn’t necessarily from the suffering, but through it.

Yeah, I know. Worst answer ever. Especially to the doubter. The skeptic. The angry.
But it is my answer. I truly believe that Paul would have sung loudly with John Newton when he got to that verse “Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.”
Grace is the gift of God. And it came at a great cost … to Him. Our suffering is temporary. He is forever. It’s interesting that Newton said that grace brought him “safely” through those things, not from them. It’s just like when Paul reminded Timothy of “the persecutions and sufferings that happened” to him. Even though he had suffered beatings, imprisonment, sickness, being stoned …  he concluded that the Lord had “delivered” him from all of them. How could he feel delivered? Because of grace he was alive and able to endure them and still worship God. To Paul, that was deliverance.
To live is Christ. To die is gain.

Then You turned my lament into dancing;You removed my sackcloth and covered me with joy.
So now my heart will sing to You and not be silent; O Lord my God, I will always give thanks to You.

A person’s life is like grass; like a flower in the field it flourishes, but when the hot wind blows by, it disappears, and one can no longer even spot the place where it once grew.
But the Lord continually shows loyal love to His faithful followers, and is faithful to their descendants.


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