In his poem, In A U-Haul North of Damascus, Georgia poet, David Bottoms, expresses the lament of the soul that cries for redemption and wonders if it’s worthy of grace.
Lord, what are the sins
I have tried to leave behind me? The bad checks,
the workless days, the scotch bottles thrown across the fence
and into the woods, the cruelty of silence,
the cruelty of lies, the jealousy,
What are these on the scale of sin
that they should follow me through the streets of Columbus….
What are these
that they should find me half-lost,
sick and sleepless
behind the wheel of this U-Haul truck parked in a field
on Georgia 45
a few miles north of Damascus…..
Lord, why am I thinking about this? And why should I care
so long after everything has fallen
Could I be just another sinner who needs to be blinded
before he can see? Lord, is it possible to fall
toward grace? Could I be moved
to believe in new beginnings? Could I be moved?
I don’t know one thing about Bottom’s religious beliefs, but I know the answer to his questions–Yes. Yes. And Yes.
You can be moved. Changed. Redeemed. Transformed. The sinful self can be crucified with Christ. The old man can become new. The sinner can be a saint. Why?
Because God was moved with love. Mercy. And grace. The Bible says so.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:4-8).
Ahh, grace! Grace that Sustains. Strengthens. And Saves. God’s wonderful, marvelous, amazing grace.
The Hebrew writer affirmed, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9)
On the Friday Jesus was crucified by wicked men, God’s grace was in full view, but they didn’t know it. Every kind of evil motive was on display that day. Hate. Envy. Pride. Hypocrisy. And Greed.
The cross is the ultimate expression of God’s grace. Jesus came to earth so that I can go to heaven. He became poor so that I might be rich. He suffered because of my sins. He tasted the death I deserve. He was grace personified.
What was the blackest Friday in all of history became a glorious Sunday when by God’s grace Jesus overcame death and the devil’s grip. He gave us hope. Showed us the way. And opened the door to the gift of God’s grace.
Grace and Truth came through Christ. And was demonstrated by Christ. Because of Friday’s sacrifice and Sunday’s resurrection, I don’t have to be afraid of death. Separated from God. Or lost eternally. The Truth can set me free. And I can receive grace.
Regardless of your journey on life’s highway, you can change directions. Jesus’ redeeming work on Friday and his victory on Sunday suddenly becomes personal. Practical. And profound in my life. When I think of my failures, frustrations, and feel fatigued spiritually, I am emboldened by grace. Yes, moved by grace.
In a small sense I can relate to what Paul, the persecutor turned preacher felt when he wrote “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10-11).
Your Fridays, filled with the wanderlust of sin, can find a new beginning in God’s gift of grace. Sunday says it’s so. It is possible.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman