At My Worst
When I was a little girl, I remember music always being played in the house. My dad had an amazing record collection. Each year we looked forward to Andy Williams belting out Christmas carols as we decorated the tree. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad singing his heart out to one of his favorite songs. My brother would often chide him when he went off key and my dad’s response was always the same, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” In other words, he couldn’t sing anymore cause he quite using His voice for the Lord. Oh, dad.
One of his favorites was Dallas Holm. (If this doesn’t date me, I don’t know what else will.) It amazes me how many songs of his I still remember thirty years later thanks to my dad. The other day as I was getting ready for bed, the lyrics of one of them popped into my mind:
At my worst, You found me
At my worst You died
At my worst, You loved me
And at my worst, You tried
To tell me that the best thing I could do
Would be to give my life to You
At my worst, You loved me
And now I love You, too
I cannot believe I still remember every single word. I think my dad would be proud.
My Worst Days
These lyrics came to my mind because I was once again confronted with the grace of God. It seems like on my absolute worst days, His mercies evidence themselves even more clearly. At my worst, He is always at His best. Bestowing gift upon gift, mercy upon mercy, kindness that leads to repentance.
For weeks, I had been laying requests at His feet, persistent in my soliciatation. Every morning, I would ask with open hands, and at the end of the day, still no answer. And on one particular morning, when I was at my worst, tensions flaring, anger boiling, impatience reacting, I received an answer. Humbled I made my way to the front porch to offer my adoration to the One Who gives when we least deserve it. On my worst day, His grace poured.
I was confronted by my own sinfulness. These hands of mine were dirty. How could I lift them before a holy God? And, yet, He filled my hands with His bounty, His goodness, His own self. This is no cheap grace. It is costly to it’s core.
Grace At It’s Best
Dietrich Bonheffer talks about this grace in The Cost of Discipleship. He writes, “Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life... Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son...and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”
This is grace at it’s best. Costly grace. Not the cheap grace that is the enemy of our lives, that costs nothing, the grace doesn’t require a cross. Rather, it is the grace that costs everything but gives even more.
At His worst, hanging on the cross, dripping of His life-blood, Christ made us our best.
He bled and died to secure our pardon. He drank vinegar to provide us with life to the fullest. He wore a crown of thorns so we would no longer wear the cloak of shame. This grace is costly. It is priceless. It is the pearl of great price worth selling all to obtain.
Our girls are currently in a phase where they like to ask us, “I’m being good, aren’t I?” It has almost become a competition between them to see who is the most well-behaved. And although any parent gladly welcomes obedience, Tim was quick to put a kibosh on it, especially after our oldest, who is tough as nails, came to us crying as she felt her sister was being favored due to good behavior. Our love for them is not dependent in any way on their behavior. We will love them always no matter what. At their worst, we will love them still. We still shower them with grace.
If you being a father, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more…
Yes, our Heavenly Father will give and give and give...even at our worst. Does this give license to sin? No, it only reminds me more clearly how costly this grace is. There is no minimum or maximum standard of obedience He requires. He gave all. The cross is testimony. I must give all.
I will give my best, knowing at my worst, He is still the best.