2018-11-07 / Columns

The Pastor's Pen

The Point of Life

The majority of people I know would profess that God alone is whole and complete. In fact, the belief is that God lacks in nothing. On the other hand, we always seem to have some mark of dependency or painful grace that keeps us close to the Creator. That is because brokenness is an essential characteristic of being human. It is also our best opportunity to live with a Savior that we worship.

In recent years our fascination concerning individual wholeness has caused many of us to assume that our humanity is not supposed to have any chips, blemishes, or bruises on it. In fact, it is often asserted that we are entitled to have it all—perfect lives, perfect health, perfect relationships, perfect job satisfaction, and grief-free living. Yet, perfection is not the biblical depiction of what we should expect while living on this earth.

One person who taught me this truth many years ago was an elderly member of a church where I was the pastor. She actually went home to be with the Lord a few years ago. She once shared with me a Scripture Alphabet that she learned as a girl and she explained to me how she repeated from memory each morning a verse associated with a particular letter of the alphabet. I was impressed with how she could recite from memory a scripture verse associated with each letter of the alphabet (ie. A = “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 or C = “Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28) One letter and verse in particular caught my attention immediately because it was one that I have often referred to in my own prayer time. It was half way down the sheet of paper she showed me and it was one that she would often mention in our prayer time together, as well. It was the letter M which was related to 2 Cor. 12:9 - “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

When I think of God’s grace being sufficient, I am reminded that the Bible describes us as a people who need a Savior. There is no time when that is more obvious than when our dreams for this life break apart. Certainly, we are encouraged to pray for healing, but God’s response may have little to do with our need to get life all fixed-up.

The apostle Paul described a “thorn in the flesh” he had asked God to remove. In spite of repeated petitions the thorn remained, and Paul learned a great deal about the sufficiency of God’s grace. That doesn’t mean God teaches us to put up with the thorns. Actually, it means that the hurts in life become our best altars for worshiping God, which is the point of life.

Grace and peace, Rev. Dr. Parrish L. Bridges

Dr. Parrish L. Bridges is the Interim Pastor at the Walton United Presbyterian Church.

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