The Reflection Continues… Two Things

by DanWolgemuth on November 3, 2023

A week ago I wrote about a visit I had with my brother Sam who lives outside of Baltimore. The aging battle has been cruel to Sam’s mind, but at the same time, liberating to his heart and soul.

After I hit send last week on my Fragment, my mind and soul have remained in a parking space in close proximity to the emotions and thoughts that accompanied my visit. As always, I am not alone in the space. God, in His love, care, compassion and clarity has bathed my thoughts in the comfort of His presence.

Mortality is unavoidable. Sometimes it strikes like a sniper, and at other times it’s a slow, relentless siege. Sometimes it’s the body. Sometimes it’s the mind.

Graciously. Kindly. Hopefully… the Holy Spirit tugged me to the words spoken by John Newton (the author of the classic hymn, Amazing Grace), who, at the end of his life wrote…

“My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.”

Confession without shame. Grace without merit.

This is illuminated further in my soul as I think about the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12… “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” 

Uncluttered love. Distractions dismissed.

Evil identified and defied.

Priorities elevated. Goodness in full embrace.

Two things.

My sin. His grace.

Transcendent thoughts.

An invitation to stop. To reflect. To assess. To ponder. To adjust. Yes, to cling to what is good.

My trip to see Sam and Mary Gayle did more than provide relational connection… it provided lasting conviction.

Two things.

Upon John Newton’s death in 1807, his tombstone was inscribed with the following…

“John Newton, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy!”

From an infidel to a preacher. Grace that saved a wretch.

Like me.

Before John Newton, Moses got it timelessly correct… “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, ESV)

When everything else leaves. God will not.

Fear not. Dread not.

For all that my brother has lost, he has gained a childlike confidence that His Father is with him. Always.

Fear dispelled. Darkness vanquished.

“Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come
Tis grace that brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.”

Two things.

Sinners saved by grace. Fear not.

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