Monday, October 10, 2005

Isn't it Amazing?

My favorite hymn is Amazing Grace. A small bit of trivia, to be sure. It is so often sung as to almost be taken by granted - but it's a very, very powerful statement. God's grace, so very amazing because it saved a wretch like me. We don't often use the word "wretch" anymore, though we should. It's a good word. It conveys the sense of sin, the literal wretchedness of our self-centered humanistic nature.

The word wretch is not the only word in the song, though, that is underused today. The word "amazing" is also underused. Sure, you hear it from time to time: "that play was 'amazing'" is heard at a football game. "I'm 'amazed' he made it that long before he fell into corruption" we hear about politicians. "Those special effects were 'amazing!'" people say after the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

But how often do we use the word about God, the One who really is amazing? How often do we truly stand in awe of a God who created the universe with His word, healed the sick, and raised the dead? Not very.

We don't fear God, and we often don't find His workings that incredible. We're spoiled by the images we see on the movie screen, and oh the wonders of modern medicine and technology. We create life through artificial insemination and take it through abortion, euthanasia and murder. Who needs God? We can do what He does.

Here's a secret worth remembering, though. None of this holds a candle to God's power. No levee can hold back floods He deems should break through. No vaccine can cure a disease so as to thwart His purposes. He is omnipotent, mighty, righteous and holy. We cannot call a universe into existence by whispering "let there be light!" We are unable to raised the dead by saying "Lazarus, come forth." We cannot defeat death, and even our meager ability to delay death is given us by God. It is so easy to focus on His love that we forget His holy wrath, poured out on individuals, cities, nations and even the world.

In the book of Mark, there are no fewer than twelve mentions of times where people were amazed at what Jesus did or said. In Acts, the Holy Spirit inspired amazement at Pentecost. Perhaps we are more cultured than these first-century folk, though, and the things that should amaze us strike us as humdrum.

If that's so, I think it unfortunate. When we lose our sense of awe, of amazement at what God does, at who He is, we have lost sight of God. We are no longer worshipping Him as He is, but as we think He is. He is amazing - awesome in a way that no valley girl phrase can possibly describe.

God created all. He heals. He gives life, and takes life. He metes out justice and, more amazingly, mercy and grace. God is amazing. We can't take Him for granted, or push past His power to a "daddy figure." Approach and worship God in awe and amazement. He is powerful and just and righteous and it is beyond understanding - amazing - that He deigned to love us enough to save us from ourselves. When we understand the depths to which He chose to come in order that we might be rescued from the distress of our own making, we realize that He is amazing.

That grace, that love, yes, that is truly, vitally and incredibly amazing.

God bless!

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