Friday, October 21, 2016

The joy and heartache of youth

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

The third verse of one of most-beloved hymns, Come, thou Fount of every blessing, is literally filled with more truth and life experience than can be expounded upon in any brief space. No truer words have been written about humanity; we are in such significant debt to God we will never repay the amount; the best our hearts can hope for is to be bound to God; our very souls too often wander away from their true home; and in the end we will stand in courts above with nothing but our hearts on display.
   Written by Robert Robinson in 1758, you'd think it was penned by one of the great composers and theologians of all-time. I guess it was. But, would you believe that Robinson was only 23 years old when he wrote it? How can that be, I exclaim? In addition, he'd only known opened the door to Justifying Grace, being saved by Jesus Christ, three years earlier. He'd been in a barber's apprentice and was influenced by the preaching of George Whitfield, one of John Wesley's closest friends.
   I am now twenty years older than Robinson was when he wrote these words. On my best days I don't think I grasp my own sinfulness, and the towering grace and goodness of God, half as well as he does here. Yet, God has grace for us both. I am forgiven despite my wandering heart and the debts of my soul. I am now a new creation, free to move past the weight of sin and into the light of holiness of heart and life. Lord, let it be!
   Even now, our community is reeling at the news of the death of a young person, allegedly at the hands of two other teenagers. Lord, heal the deep and terrible wounds that remain in the lives of their loved ones. Lord, give us the courage to engage young people with the very love that has saved us and offer to them a witness to abundant life and the hope of God's glory. Finally, may we see the goodness of God and the potential of grace in the lives of every person. Grace and peace, Scott

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