In the Boat

Today, I find myself feeling immensely grateful for my salvation. As the picture indicates, by God’s grace, I didn’t miss the boat!

I am indeed blessed to live in a part of the world where Christianity was presented to me in a very accessible way. I live in a country where faith expression is a privilege often taken for granted, and where – while often mocked and criticized – being a Christ follower is neither uncommon nor unusual. Increasingly unpopular? Yes. Persecuted in subtle (or not-so-subtle) ways? Yes, but nothing compared to our fellow believers in other parts of the world.

I was raised in a culturally Christian home, the child of divorced parents. We were Easter/Christmas church attendees for the most part, until my mother remarried when I was in my pre-teen years.

My stepdad was – and is – a faithful church attendee, so we began going to church weekly. I already had my own nascent relationship with Jesus (I attended a Christian school and faintly remember the teacher asking if we wanted Jesus to come into our hearts. I wanted that then, and I’m glad He’s still in there now!), but I was struggling with “religion”. In my mind, people seemed very focused on maintaining specific traditions and rituals, rather than opening the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom, and inviting God to connect with us personally and individually.

Anyway, I went through different phases as I grew in my faith journey: Not attending church during (and immediately after) college and grad school, and then traveling through several low places – valleys of the mind and spirit – where things became very difficult. It was only then that I realized that I couldn’t do life on my own, and in my own strength. I was not enough, despite my degrees.

So I turned to the Bible. I set aside the KJV (the decorative, yet rarely used “church Bible” I had for many years) in favor of a more accessible translation, and I simply started reading. Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God…” and kept going. It wasn’t always easy – it isn’t necessarily easy now – but through each trial, I dig in more. In each valley, though I struggle (as I do now), there seems to be a deepening of this relationship with the Lord, and I am grateful. My educational and professional accomplishments are meaningless if I fail to understand that I was made by God, in order to partner with Him to accomplish His purposes that He uniquely created me to perform. However, I must be in right relationship with Him first, before anything else happens.

So this is where the grateful-for-salvation thing comes in – I can have confidence that nothing I can ever say or do will ever remove me from His loving care. Put another way, I can’t lose my salvation, although I certainly can turn away from God, if I so choose. This freedom does not give me license to live a life of recklessness, but because of Christ who lives in me, I have not desire to behave in destructive ways. Do I still stumble and fall? Of course. But does God love me any less? No.

Amazing grace, indeed.

My prayer today is simple: Dear Jesus, thank You for saving me. I am Your child and can rest in the knowledge that You are always looking out for me. When I walk through the valleys, may I remember that You are there right beside me, encouraging me to keep on walking, even when things seem dark and the way forward is not certain. While things may be unclear to me, may I remember that nothing is ever unclear or hidden from You. Thanks for never giving up on me! In Your name I pray, Amen.

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