27 Jan How the Gospel First Changed Me
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…
I love to sing this hymn. Not because I sing well, but because the truths in it ring so evident in my life. I was raised Catholic and learned to be a “doer” to please others, to please God and to make myself look good in the process. I took that to the “nth” degree thinking I was in total control of my life. This seemed to work pretty well till I was in my late 20’s, when my life and my marriage fell apart. So, what was I to do but to work harder and build a new life. I started dating Craig, who was a doctor at the hospital where I worked. Eventually we got married and moved about 1500 miles from what had always been home. I knew no one, had a job I hated, and never saw my new husband. I was lost.
Into this venue God spoke the Gospel. A neighbor invited us to church and the pastor was preaching on Daniel. I remember him saying something to the effect that ‘God may not save us from the fire, but he will walk through it with us as he did with Daniel’s friends.’ Jesus walked through a fire with four men, and died on the cross to rescue me from sin and death. I was in a fire, and there was God. I needed rescue, and there was God. Graciously God began to strip away my independence and stubbornness. It took a few weeks but his call was clear and I knew surrender was the only option. In those weeks God used his fire to begin melting my hard and strong heart and unraveling my self-determination and independence. I have come to recognize that this is a process that requires many “meltings” and continued unraveling along the way. Self, I realize now, dies only a little at a time.
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God loved me more than any human could or would. God gave me a hunger for his word that replaced dozens of self-help books that I had read. His call was clear, “Come and let us reason together” rather than me trying to figure everything out on my own. This was miraculous! In His amazing grace, God called Craig to Himself very shortly after I surrendered; and he surrounded us with a church family that shepherded us as we grew. In a matter of weeks the Gospel changed my heart, my desire to “go it” on my own; it changed whom I talked to when I ached for home, and who and how I spent my free time.
I had been very good at the “doing” game, but as the Gospel penetrated my heart, I found out that Jesus had already DONE EVERYTHING. I was called to follow the ONE who did. I have been following for 32 years, and I am still amazed!
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.
Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift from God, and not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”