Faith Messages to build your faith

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Amazing Grace, to the Rescue




Ron HutchcraftI've always loved the hymn "Amazing Grace." Now I'm living it.
When a song or a favorite food or an old voicemail slams me with the still inconceivable reality that she won't be back."


Or when I'm in the living room where the love of my life and I shared so much. Her touches are everywhere. Her laughter is in the walls. Her absence is overwhelming. She's been gone a month now.
What's amazing about the grace, though, is that - as great as the grief is - the grace is greater.
It was there at the final goodbye at Karen's grave. In the spontaneous quiet singing near us. It was our Cherokee sisters singing in their language the song that had sustained their ancestors in the agony of their Trail of Tears. "Amazing Grace."
And now it was holding us up during our tears. Not just the song. The reality behind it. A Savior who holds you close and lets you know you're safe - even in the darkest hours of your journey. Who infuses my weakness with this spiritual adrenaline called grace. That carries me when I can't walk and I call His Name.
Living for years on an Indian reservation, our son and daughter-in-love walked with many through serial tragedies. And serial grieving. 

Last week, our "daughter" said, "You know, we've seen grief be so destructive in so many lives. But watching you, I see how something constructive can actually come from it."
That's the grace she's seeing. I'm early in this journey, but I've learned that pain and loss can, in fact, bear not just bitter fruit, but beautiful fruit. 

As the Old Testament hero Joseph said - after being sold as a slave by his brothers, falsely accused, wrongfully imprisoned - "God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering" (Genesis 41:52). 

Yes, like the pain of childbirth, the ordeal can produce something beautiful. If I grieve my grief. 
So often I've seen in others ungrieved grief morph into a monster of anger, withdrawal, depression. So I've let the tears come, and they do. I've made myself take time to feel the feelings.
Because this valley can only be "fruitful" if I decide I won't waste this grief. My friend John didn't. Four years ago, he lost his beloved Nancy. He's called me several times, checking, challenging, comforting. As only one who's walked this trail can do. He's delivering that grace.
He's being for me what I am now being painfully qualified to be for someone else. In the Bible's words: "God...the source of all comfort, comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

That's why I'm journaling this journey. To never lose this hurt-softened heart.
I'm following a Savior who left the suffering-free zone of heaven to become "a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief" (Isaiah 53:3). Who hung on a cross for my sins. 

If I let this Jesus tenderize my heart for other broken hearts and lead me through this valley, I can become one of His wounded healers. Like my friend John.
Sandy had just said goodbye to her lifetime love when I saw her at a conference. I asked her what everyone asks me, "How are you doing?" I've never forgotten her answer. 

    "Ron, this is the final exam you study for your whole
      life of walking with Jesus."
I really understand that now. You can't cram for this one. If you haven't been walking with Jesus day-by-day, you won't have a well deep enough for the most crushing days of your life. Each day, doing life with Him, is building spiritual muscle to one day lift a load you thought would be unbearable.
I feel like I'm living each day...drawing deeply on the love of the One who died for me. Experiencing the life-giving power of my resurrected Jesus.
And singing my own verse of "Amazing Grace."

(with permission and my emphasis)
Amazing Grace, to the Rescue
By Ron Hutchcraft 
Check out more blogs at Hutchcraft.com

Another quote from Ron: "The walls and masks we put up to hide our brokenness often cannot be breached by persuasion, debate, even Scripture, unless the messenger comes broken. With Hope to share.

A marriage can be saved...a child...a friendship...a soul - if someone is willing to come from behind their mask, their walls, their defenses. And simply let their heart do the talking.
That's when Jesus turns my hurt into hope for someone else.
And it's how my Jesus - who said He "came to bind up the brokenhearted" - does His life-restoring miracle.
He turns my "ashes" into a "crown of beauty" (Isaiah 61:3).
Today's Bible verse-

(Col. 4:6) "Let my speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that I may know how I ought to answer every man." (make it personal).

Today's quote-

"Be encouraged today, my friend. No matter what you've done or where you've been, there is some grace for you today! That amazing grace gives you the ability to know that what you are currently experiencing is only the first half of the game. Then grace gives you the power to get up and go play the best second half possible!


   Father in Heaven, I thank You for Your amazing grace. I'm thankful that You express Your goodness to me, not because I'm so good, but because You are good! Your grace has achieved for me what I could never earn: forgiveness, right-standing with You, and the right to be adopted into Your family through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ! Thank You!"

(both of the above are taken from p. 39 of Kevin Berry's Experience Hope, the secret to your best life)

Jean's blog (check out the snippets of recent posts!)

Today's testimony-

My granddaughter, Ana Cody, relates that she had 
complete 8 hours of sleep recently, when her 3-month-old 
daughter, Ella, slept right straight through the night! 
Ella at 3 months  Also, check out Anastasia's Bakery in Madrid square. She's opened every Friday and Saturday from 7 - 2.

Today's Spotlight sermon-

SEPTEMBER 11, 2016

Identification and Continuation

Speaker: Daniel Paladin Series: On Mission Location: CFC Potsdam
Choose any of the many sermons listed at http://www.cfconline.org/sermons, to listen or download!


Upcoming posts-

    #55 Faith Conquers Doubt
20th- Tuesday's post by Dr. Wesley L. Duewel

     #56 Faith, Signs and Assurance
   22nd- Thursday's post by Dr. Wesley L. Duewel

    A Lesson Learned
25th- Sunday evening's post by Marion Stroud

    #57 How to Know God Hears Your Prayer
27th- Tuesday's post by Dr. Wesley L. Duewel





31-day Devotional my personal story

Sample verse, p. 50-

"What you'll discover as a wife,
   It's not now understood.
But Jesus will work in your life
                                  To benefit your good..."

 A great gift for someone who may need help to 
prepare for marriage, and for those in a 
marriage, wanting some helpful advice.


2 comments:

  1. Amazing Grace is one of my favorite songs. It touched me when I first got saved. Some one showed me that the author John Newton was a sailing captain on a slave ship. It touched me being a Merchant Marine engineering Officer on ship for 17 years. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. This is an amazing post. It brought tears to my eyes - the kind that come from my heart because something touched my soul.

    ReplyDelete