Sunday, 29 August 2010

Grace and Truth

I wrote on my Facebook page the other day about a recent trip to a tropical zoo, where it turned out that my 5-year old boy is much braver than me. He happily allowed tarantulas and scorpions to crawl on his hands whilst I backed quietly away into a corner. Someone commented they would have been screaming, to which I responded that well, I was screaming on the inside!

This reminded me of a song I wrote a few years ago whilst in the midst of depression. Being a depressed Christian is a lonely place to be. Depression is a monster which swallows up all hope, leaving behind a black cloud of despair which is suffocating and from which there appears to be no escape. Depression for the Christian is particularly difficult to deal with for it strikes at the very heart of your faith – for we worship the “God of hope” (Rom 15:13).

Anyway, in the song I was trying to express the painful struggle between trying to live up to Christian expectations of a victory-filled life because of God’s presence in my life, and the awful reality that in fact life was the pits. So the chorus said “I’m smiling, but I’m crying on the inside of me”. A later refrain cried out “You’d just think I was losing my faith if I told you it’s no help when I pray; You’d say that God works all things for our good, so you just thank Him now like you should”.

Things were made worse by our pastor encouraging people to testify during worship services of how God had worked in their lives that week, how He had answered prayer. Listening to people relaying how God had done this good thing or showed them that good thing just reinforced my belief I was a failure as a Christian. I needed to hear, but never did, that someone else’s life was the pits, but they still maintained a hope in the Living God because of what Jesus Christ had done for them by dying for their sins and providing forgiveness for those sins and enabling them to be reconciled to God.

Thank God He delivered me from this depression. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Thank God that through all the soul searching of those days, I believe it led me to discover the freedom of the true grace of the gospel, that our performance for God is not what counts – it is the life of His Beloved Son that counts!

This recent discovery has led me on a search to understand the truth of the Bible much better, and I have spent a lot of time looking at false teachings to root them out from my thinking and ensure my mind is transformed by God’s word. All good...

Yet I have recently been brought up short by a lack of compassion and graciousness in my thinking (incidentally in an interaction where in response to my accusation, grace was returned to me). In my desire to hold on to truth, I have become critical and judgemental of others holding to different beliefs. I fear that in my zealousness for truth, I have lost sight of compassion and grace – qualities which God taught me so much about my need for through my depression. How ironic.

“Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” – John 1:17. This is my scripture verse for now.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A Child of God

Creator of the World,
He named the stars one by one;
He sits enthroned above the earth;
Yet He stooped to save,
And I catch my breath, amazed –
Can I really be a child of God?

A child of God in His Kingdom?
A child of God – can it be true?
How great the love the Father lavished on us
That we should be called children of God.

Dead in my transgressions,
Without hope in the world,
Living as an enemy of God;
Now I’m saved by grace
And I catch my breath, amazed –
Can I really be a child of God?

Now we’re heirs of God,
Raised and seated in Christ,
The riches of His grace still to come;
And every single day
I still catch my breath, amazed –
Can I really be a child of God?