September 19, 2011

Amazing Grace

On Friday mornings @ 7:00 a.m. an odd group of men meet for breakfast at the Egg and I in Ancaster. A black Ford pickup truck pulled into my driveway @ 6:45 a.m. A dear brother in Christ helped me into his vehicle and brought me to the breakfast. I have been invited many times, but this week was my first time. What do we do there? Well, we eat unhealthy food of course (bacon, eggs, pancakes), we trade teases and insults, and we talk about the goodness of the Lord our God. One of the brothers there, is my hero and inspiration, Ray.

Ray's heart stopped for about 20 minutes last year, but the nurses who love him so much did not give up, and got his heart going again. Ray drives about 1 hour to get to his dialysis appointment at St. Joseph’s hospital, goes on dialysis for 3 hours, and then drives another hour to get home again. Five hours a day, six days a week, the dialysis removes 2 – 2.5 litres of fluid every day. Ray suffers from an auto-immune disease that produces proteins in his bloodstream, and these proteins gum up his vital organs. Ray’s kidney’s shut down 18 months ago, so he gets rid of the fluid via dialysis.

Ray is a walking, talking testimony to God’s amazing grace for him. He will never complain, but his big smile, happy disposition, and thankful life is a sight for sore eyes. Every Friday morning, Ray is late for dialysis, gets bawled out by the nurses, and now you know why. Come join us sometime, if you think you can take the heat. By the way, if they ask you to pray for breakfast, take a pass. Reason why, I’ve been told, is that if you pray you also pay!

Our pastor has been preaching through a series of sermons from the book of Exodus. As we follow along, it is astounding to realize what a stubborn, difficult, obstinate, sinful people those murmuring Israelites were. Three days after their amazing deliverance through the Red Sea, they began complaining about the bitter water and the delicacies of Egypt that they were missing. Moses was willing to stand in the gap between this people and a holy, righteous, angry God. God patiently withholds His judgements and gives them time and opportunity to repent. They are His elect, covenant people as a nation.

This is my picture. I am a sinner, guilty before God. I have no faith or goodness of my own to offer to God. I am bankrupt in myself. And yet, He patiently comes with His Word and Spirit and shows me His unconditional love. Why is this? I don’t understand it. The only answer to this question can be found in the nail pierced hand of His Son. In the palm of that hand are tattooed the names of His blood bought people. My name is there too. He came to me already in my baptism as an infant in 1954, and He confirmed it in my life in 1974 when I did Confession of Faith at 20 years of age. God doesn’t need us, in fact He is more than complete without us. We would only mess up His holiness if we tried to add to it. But God loves his Son. When He sees those blood bought names, then His wrath is satisfied and He loves them too. Amazing grace.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jack and family. I would like very much to wish God's blessings and grace to endure as you continue your struggles with ALS. It is wonderful to hear your testimonies and reliance upon God in this. May he then give that you, and all of us, may continue to place our trust in Him. May we find strength in one of the great comforts in God's Word, "My grace is sufficient for you". Not always easy to think like that but nevertheless so very true.