Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Protection - But at what cost?

In hindsight, I can see that Jesus was protecting me even before I wanted anything to do with him. I was so into evil at one point that I had pledged my life to the forces of evil. The people that I was hanging with and working for were into porn, selling drugs and illegal gambling. I had all the drugs and sex and money any hedonistic young man could want, and I wanted it all. Yet Jesus protected me through it all and brought me out the other side.

Jesus even sent me one of the women who was part of the business to “save” me. That might sound strange but here’s what happened. Every night, every single night after the Club closed, there was a party. One night, we were sitting on a couch while the usual gathering was rocking throughout the house. There was a couple having sex up against the wall in one corner. Another couple were having sex on a chair in another part of the room. We had just done some LSD and she leaned over and said, “Is life ever a bag of shit.”

I didn’t say anything but I looked at her like, “What are you talking about? I thought we’re having fun.”

That one comment of her’s was the beginning of turning my life around. That one comment forced me to look at my friends with a clarity that I’d never possessed before. Men and women who for years I had thought were the height of cool, now, in light of that one comment seemed like the most pathetic people that I’d ever met. And guess what? I was one of them.

At the time, I didn’t know that Jesus was behind that woman’s comment. In fact, it took another five years before I became a Christian, but that night, Jesus protected me from sliding all the way to the bottom, or perhaps more accurately, He protected me from remaining at the bottom.

Jesus has protected me from serious physical harm. He’s kept me from killing people. He’s protected me from long term emotional pain. He’s protected me from eternal spiritual pain. He’s protected me from destroying my wife and children. Jesus has protected me from completely wasting my life. In part, Jesus has done this by bringing me to a literal halt. Little by little over a period of 46 years Jesus used arthritis to turn the screws until I threw in the towel, I gave in, I quit trying to make it on my own for even the smallest detail of life.

Today, along with King David of the Bible I am able to say, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word. You are good and what You do is good. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees. The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. In faithfulness You afflicted me. May Your unfailing love be my comfort. Let Your compassion come to me that I may live. Psalm 119.

And with the Apostle Peter I am able to say with utmost sincerity, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore, under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. And the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1st Peter 5:6,7,10

I love Jesus so very much. He has been incredibly kind to me. I’ve deserved none of His mercy and love and grace. Yet that is exactly what He’s given me. Only because of His enormous love have I been protected from the life that I thought that I wanted. And what has it cost me? Nothing. While it cost my Saviour His life, it’s cost me nothing. What amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.

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