Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL (don't write about the song) (04/02/15)
- TITLE: By Grace
By Wanda Draus
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I have moved quite a bit over the years and I have had opportunity of attending Good Friday services at several different churches. It is a solemn time, recounting the events of the trial and Crucifixion of our Lord. Though the presentation has varied, what seems to stay the same is the overwhelming quiet as I and the other parishioners leave the sanctuary. Not a sound, as if the previous moments we witnessed just happened and we are left with no words but this deep sense of awe of what Christ endured on the Cross and why He endured such suffering.
This past week I read an article written by Ann Voskamp, a noted author and speaker, where on this particular day she wrote, “By grace, today I will fast from the familiarity of grace because it numbs us to the ‘awe of God.’”
I am often guilty of such familiarity, where I go through the motions of reading my devotions, praying, or even celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, without that deep commitment of lingering at the foot of the cross. Sometimes, I feel like I’m on auto-pilot, worshipping and serving and not stopping to listen, to seek God’s guidance. What does it really mean the words Christ spoke, “do this in remembrance of me?”
My thoughts go to those who have given their very lives because of their love for Christ and my mind struggles and my heart hurts from all the persecution of our fellow Christians; the 147 students killed at the University of Kenya for being singled out for their faith and the 21 Coptic Christians that were on their knees and beheaded all because they were People of the Cross.
Driving home looking into the dark night I told God my struggle to understand all this evil against His people and my own fear questioning, would I be able to stand the test like those brave Coptic Christians or the students who all they had to do was denounce they were Christ followers?
Sara Groves’s song, “When the Saints” depicts the evil and suffering that has and is taking place in the world and one verse sums up how I feel at times about my own walk; “I see the man of sorrows and his long troubled road, I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load.”
Listening to the sound of the windshield wipers I continued to ponder the question, what is it Lord, that gives the Coptic Christians and the students from Kenya such courage? What is it that gives the persecuted survivors of the Holocaust, who in extreme conditions, half naked, lice ridden and under the rule of the SS, find a place in the darkest of evil to practice the Passover and sing praises to God?
Pulling into my driveway, the answer came. God is in control and He will not leave us in our time of need but give us the courage and grace to endure the sufferings in this world and though my mind and heart may not understand it all but my soul is at peace.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)
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