By Derek Maul
“And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.” – Romans 11:6
This past week I almost used a popular “faith cliché” in response to the tragic death of a teen at our church. Fortunately, I thought it through first. I believe my reasoning is worth consideration.
We were talking about how challenging parenting can be, and how we all struggle. And we talked about how precipitously close to the edge life teeters at times, especially raising children.
I almost said, “There but for the grace of God go I.” But that’s not valid. Would I suggest the grace of God wasn’t at play with the family who lost their daughter? Of course not! But the phrase suggests God’s grace is arbitrary, hit or miss, or offered in proportion to our walk as believers.
But this family was surely covered by the grace of God!
The truth is we’re all living with God’s grace as a constant. Psalm 23 reads, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”
Another translation goes like this: “I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.”
That’s grace. We’re all suffering, and one of our families is devastated beyond what most of us can imagine, but God’s grace abounds. God’s grace is at work even now with the teenager who was killed; she is still very much God’s child.
A better phrase would be, “Because of the grace of God, here I am.” Because of grace we can walk through this valley; because of grace a grieving family knows God in this darkness. Because of God’s grace, none of us ever needs to be alone, and no one ever has to lose hope.
This is the good news; this is the Gospel; this is the truth about grace – DEREK
Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com