Two days ago, I was at a funeral in our church. The wife of one of our elders was being buried. She was a Christian, having being saved many, many years ago. We had a service in our church, and I was privileged, for the first time in a long time, to hear my old minister praying. I wept when he began to pray. God used this man so much in my early Christian life to feed my soul. His voice, when he began to pray, was like music to my soul.
Sad music, that day. But blessed music. Hearing him swept me back nearly twenty-five years. It was bitter. And sweet.
Today, we had a very different funeral pass our home on its way to the cemetery.
A man whom I knew very well over twenty years ago was found dead in his home the other day. He and I were in the same 'crowd' before I was converted. At nineteen, God saved me.
In the years following this, he was often in our home. He was friendly with me, and with my brother. We spoke often of eternal matters. But still, he remained unsaved.
His life slipped into a life of alcoholism. I lived in Glasgow for thirteen years, and never saw him in all that time. I saw him on the island a few years ago, and I wasn't even able to go and speak to him. I wept. I saw him on the street in our town, and I couldn't even go and say Hello. I went back to my car and cried.
I knew that, 'there but for the grace of God go I'.
And now, it's too late. Since I learned of his death, all I could think was, Why me?
Why me - taken from a place where I was lost - given salvation? Saved. Covered by the righteousness of Christ. Safe - for Time and for Eternity. Why me? I was no better than this man. No better than any man. Yet, God, in His sovereignty, saved me. The wonder of it leaves me speechless.
These were some of my thoughts this morning as I drove over to Stornoway. I was on my own in the car, so I listened to this sermon.
Rev B. Elshout preached on Ruth's words to Boaz, "Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take notice of me, seeing I am a stranger?". My thoughts were perfectly summed up in some of what he had to say.
This Ruth....who was she? A Moabitess. From Moab! Surely she wasn't worthy of Boaz's love! And so I could say,
Anne...who was she? A sinner. From the City of Destruction! Surely she's not worthy of Christ's love!
And I answer, 'Definitely not. Most certainly, I was worthy only of being left in the spiritual City of Destruction. And yet, the greater Boaz - the Lord Jesus Christ Himself - has redeemed me with His precious blood'. I'm sure Ruth often 'pinched' herself, and said, 'Is this real? Really and truly? Boaz!....love ME?'. How much more do I 'pinch' myself and say, 'God love me? Me?!'
How amazing God's grace is. How unspeakably and utterly mind-blowing the grace of God is. No wonder John Newton wrote,
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.
Praise God that those of us who have been saved by our blessed Saviour will have the endless ages of eternity to worship Him for what He has done for us.
And for those still outside the blessed kingdom of God, we pray that they would come under the shelter of His wings.
"... the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou are come to trust". What beautiful words Boaz spoke to Ruth, and this is what we desire for all whom we love in this world who are still outside of Christ. Our Saviour has promised that He will 'in no wise cast out any who come to him'
"Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Oh, blessed rest for a restless soul. There is nothing like it on this earth.