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Monday, April 27, 2015

Foreknowledge Response

Chuck, who responds to some of my posts, is one of my fist mentors in the Christian life.  From him, I learned to do Bible study.  I learned to love the Word.  After I left the Air Force, I lived in his and Sharon's basement.  His response to the post yesterday was better than my post.  It comes from a heart both broken in grief and committed to the Lord he serves.  I share it here because it needs to be more widely read.
Foreknowledge Response
Good posts, Mike and Salt (or is it Rock?), Ephesians 2 is difficult to get around, all right. It seems we humans are solidly hard-wired to want credit for what we do. I am who I am because of the good choices I have made. the hard work I had to do to get through school, my faithfulness in the jobs I was given in employment situations, etc., etc, etc.

My only problem in my own case is that just didn't line up with the reality in my life. I never in my conscious life sought God. I didn't choose my family of godly Bible honoring ancestors including clergymen and generations who fled religious persecution to come eventually to America and have all the opportunities offered hard working middle class European white folks of the Colonial era and beyond. And for as long as I can yet remember I went to church, at least twice a week and often three. I was so divinely preconditioned that when I heard the Good News clearly at ten years old, I responded.

What did I have to do with that? It was really no choice; I was thoroughly prepared through no doing of my own.

My late wife as a teen at a church camp was in such pain and despair that one evening she was headed into the camp kitchen, get a knife and kill herself. It "just happened" that a friend came by at that time and asked her if she would go to the evening meeting with her, she wend and met Christ.

Even if I was deceived into thinking that either of us "chose" for ourselves I would still be left to the grace of God having brought us to Himself sovereignly.

As I have reflected in this over the past few decades, I can only come to the conclusion that Ephesians 2:8,9 is true just as it says; I brought nothing (in fact didn't even come) to the table. He pursued me at His pleasure until He caught and wrestled me to the ground.

The last three+ weeks (note from Mike: it has been three+ months) since my Beloved's flight into the strong arms of the Savior she loved so dearly here on earth I have been reevaluating everything about my life (I've read this is normal in grieving such a loss). I am realizing how easy I have often lived congratulating - or condemning - myself on the basis of my efforts. My life is shot thoroughly through with "salvation by works." I am slowly learning to come to God with deep mourning and brokenness over my sin and trying to live by my feeble, futile efforts.

I often these days find myself asking God, "What did I do to deserve to live 45 years with a true angel and experience her faithful unshakable love. And what did I do, God, to be your child?"

The answer is the same: "Nothing!" It's called grace. Pure and simple.

But grace doesn't just end at conversion. If God were showing my sin like He now is without the Gospel in my life now, I would end it in a minute. Grace now says without condemnation, "Yes. That is the way you are and it's a whole lot worse than you know. But, you are forgiven by my grace from eternity past. Follow Me...." I still have a lot of learning to do.

I'm sorry I'm coming to this so late in life, and the cost is great. I miss her terribly with pain inside I'm told will never go away, but will moderate in time. I hope so. But I know in my head when I get to heaven and the Lord asks me if it was worth it, my answer will certainly be, "Yes, Lord. Worth it."