“Aha!” moments are few and far between. The lights go on. The truth dawns. We suddenly see the answer to the issue we have been chewing on. For Martin Luther who lived during the 1500s, at the time the printing press was invented, who studied one of the hand copied Bibles – in Latin!, the lights went on when he read Romans 5:8, “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” Sola gratia, grace alone. God comes to me, dead in sin, unaware of him, and initiates relationship – not because of the wonderfulness of myself but because of the wonderfulness of him.
I love to watch the TV serial, “Call the Midwives.” About three times an episode some woman in the East side of London, in humble living circumstances, yells and screams as she delivers a baby, often at home. Nothing fancy. The midwives attend and are the cheerleaders. The man paces the floor in the other room. Finally the baby appears and almost invariably the mother holds the little person and declares, “You’re beautiful!” The man comes in and declares, “Perfect.” The new, infant coos and we smile as all is right in the world for a few minutes. Perhaps the parallel isn’t perfect but that idea of being totally unknown and undeveloped but loved for just being born gives some of the flavor of “grace alone.” We are drawn into a world we need to learn to live in, with talents that need to be developed, and a family we need to get to know.
Last week I shared about the paralyzed man who is lowered by friends into a house where Jesus is meeting the masses and Jesus heals him. There is no indication that the man is a person of faith. We know the friends believed and hoped Jesus would heal. We know the leaders thought it a scandal that Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven. Take up your mat and walk.” But in the story, Jesus initiates the healing. Why? Because that is the nature of God.
So if God is willing, why is the world not perfect? Perhaps we have no friends willing to brave the censure of the crowd, willing to dig through the ceiling of the room, or willing to bring people to Christ not knowing the outcome. Perhaps we ourselves believe we are beyond help in our area of struggle be that addictions, defeated relationships, or overwhelming circumstances. And it is true that bad things happen to good people. God is not a magician to make my life work and to make me be happy. God, by grace, because he cares, is willing to walk with us on our journey as we put our hand in his. May we sense his presence and his grace initiating relationship with us today. Blessings.