Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Grace Disguised

"A Grace Disguised" by Jerry Sittser

If you like tragedy, like me, then this book is for you.  It is written by a man, Jerry, who in one car accident lost his wife, his daughter and his mother.  He tells of the accident that changed his life forever.  Jerry writes of how he chose to respond to the loss.  He writes that in how he responded was his defining moment, not the accident itself.  He had other children to live for and set an example for.  He could not do what he wanted, to lie in bed and wallow in self-pity, he had to show them how to continue to live despite the huge loss.  "We do not always have the freedom to choose the roles we must play in life, but we can choose how we are going to play the roles we have been given."  Choosing how we deal with trials is about the only choice we really do have.  "It is the power to choose that adds dignity to our humanity and gives us the ability to transcend our circumstances, thus releasing us from living as mere victims."  "So with the background already sketched in by circumstances beyond my control, I picked up a paintbrush and began, with great hesitation and distress, to paint a new portrait of our lives."  It's not easy to pick up the pieces from loss, any loss, and start anew.  "Who knows how one experience, so singularly horrible, can set in motion a chain of events that will bless future generations?  Loss may appear to be random, but that does not mean it is.  It may fit into a scheme that surpasses even what our imaginations dare to think."  We do not know the impact our loss, and how we deal with that loss, will effect those around us.  Only God sees the bigger picture, yet there are many that are watching how we respond.  "The problem of expecting to live in a perfectly fair world is that there is no grace in that world, for grace is grace only when it is underserved."  And we are all under serving of that grace.  "Wrong that is forgiven is still wrong done and must be punished.  Mercy does not abrogate justice, it transcends it."  Wrong is still wrong yet I love his statement that mercy transcends the wrong and that can only be God.  "If people want their souls to grow through loss, whatever the loss is, they must eventually decide to love even more deeply than they did before.  They must respond to the loss by embracing love with renewed energy and commitment."  "Choosing to withdraw from people and to protect the self diminishes the soul; choosing to love even more deeply than before ensures that we will suffer again, for the choice to love requires the courage to grieve.  We know that loss is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  So naturally we dread the losses that loom ahead.  But the greater loss is not suffering another loss itself but refusing to love again, for that my lead to the death of the soul."  Such good words, yet so very hard to live out, although necessary to live the life God intended.  

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