Monday Musings for 9.28.20

 

Dear Friend,

It was great to see so many of you at Liberty Park yesterday!  Several of you I hadn’t seen in six months.  And several of you I had to look at real hard to make sure it was you behind that mask!

Our Bible 101 series continues this Sunday as we focus on the Old Testament.  (Hebrew Bible is the preferred term.)  We will be looking at something that sounds way more complicated than it really is:  The Deuteronomic Principle.

It’s found in the book of Deuteronomy, but it really is instinctive to all people, regardless of faith, as we live our lives.  The basic idea is that if you are a good person, good things will happen to you and if you are a bad person, bad things will happen to you.

Often this is the case.  This is one reason we do our best to be good people.  God’s way is the best way to live.  It’s best for us and it’s best for others.  No argument here.  However, the Deuteronomic Principle is not a hard and fast rule.  As we all know (and as the Bible also teaches) evil people often prosper and good people often suffer.

I go back in my memory banks a few years for this example.

There was a woman in one of my churches who was one of the finest human beings I have ever known.  She was highly respected in the community.  She had the highest moral principles.  She was exceptionally kind and caring and generous.  She was fun to be around.  She was very intelligent but always curious and eager to learn more.  She was aging gracefully, never complaining, always grateful.  She was a role model for many, me included.  We all wanted to be like her.

Then it happened.  Her health failed.  For the first time in her life, she was dependent on others.  She did not like it one bit.  Who would?  For the first time, I saw signs of bitterness in this wonderful woman.

I visited her.  She was not in a good mood, which was understandable.  She was going through some hard things.  I assumed this was a normal, healthy reaction and that it would pass.

It did not pass.  And she did not get better.  Physically or spiritually.  It was like someone else now inhabited her body.  It was suggested that it was the sickness, or the medication, or maybe a combination of both.

There probably was something to that.  But I wondered if there might have been something else going on.  She thought God had let her down.  She said she didn’t deserve what was happening to her.  And of course, she didn’t.  But up to that point in her life, her whole life had been based on deserving and getting blessings from God.  It had always worked that way.  She was faithful to God and God in return was faithful to her.

I remember learning a lesson from this wonderful woman whose personality had changed so abruptly.  Life can be great, but life can also be hard, very hard.  It’s not a matter of getting what we deserve.  It’s a matter of getting better than we deserve.  It’s a matter of grace, God’s grace.

I hope I can remember that the next time life gets hard for me.  And I hope my relationship with God will grow beyond any notion that God owes me a thing.  I owe it all to God.

Andrae Crouch wrote “My Tribute,” written as a prayer to God.

               How can I say thanks for the things you have done for me?

               Things so undeserved yet you gave to prove your love for me;

               The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude.

               All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe all to Thee.

In Christ,

 

John