Moving on! Last night an old favorite came on that I hadn't heard in a while:
"Who I Am" - Casting Crowns
It sort of tied in to another song, of course an old one, that is one of my all time favorite hymns:
"How Deep The Father's Love For Us" - Phillips, Craig and Dean
"Not because of what I've done, but because of who You are. Not because of who I am, but because of what You've done."
"Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer, but this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom."
What do these two songs have in common? Grace. Similar, but not quite, to mercy. I've heard the difference explained like this: Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don't deserve. We deserve death. A harsh, but true reality. We are sinful creatures, no matter how hard we try to be good. We're just not. It's human nature. We're selfish at best, downright evil at worst. But God is in love with us. Have you ever looked at a couple and thought, "Man, what do they see in each other?" That's God's relationship with us. He loves us, but why? It doesn't make sense. We don't deserve it. We're not good enough for Him. We have absolutely nothing of value to offer Him. And yet, He yearns for us. He moves heaven and earth to be with us. He sacrificed everything for us. That's grace. We do not deserve His love and His devotion. We do not deserve His attention or His blessings. We deserve death.
This should not make you feel guilty or bad! I won't lie, it moves me to tears when I think about it, but I get an overwhelming sense of relief. There is NOTHING I can do to earn God's love. Nothing I say or do will cause God to stop loving me, or love me more. No ritual or good deeds or failures or mistakes will make it easier or harder to get into heaven. Whether I'm a "good" or "bad" Christian doesn't matter. There's pretty much nothing I can do to earn God's grace.
Except trust. That's all I can do. Trust God. And thank Him every single day, with every single breath that He loved me enough to give me what I don't deserve.