This is the story of David. He had been a fun kid, my favorite boy cousin, and full of life. We used to play in the haymow, ride on the toboggan behind the horse, and chow down the Christmas treats that my aunt would hide under the eaves in the cold, where she thought they were safe.
But after David served in Vietnam, he came back a changed person. He turned to drugs, smoking, and alcohol for consolation, his body eventually ravaged by years of harmful substances. As time and emphysema took its toll on him, David became thin and haggard, hardly recognizable as the healthy, handsome, and fun kid he had once been. He looked like an old man years before he should have.
David's body and life were riddled with pain. He had no time for God.
But, In the last year of his life, David learned what all true Christ followers know:
It's not about us or what we do that merits our salvation. It's all about Jesus and what He has done at the Cross, paying the penalty for the sin of all who put their trust in Him.
I remember when my dad died last December and I was told by another family member that David wanted me to know that he would be praying for our family. What?! I was shocked. And shocked to learn that David was trusting Jesus. David had acknowledged his hopelessness and ran to the only Rescuer, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lavished on him grace and mercy unlimited. (He never turns anyone away). David, his sins forgiven, looked forward to seeing His Savior.
Oh sure, he still lived in that unhealthy, painful body, but he had a Savior who loved him and hope and a future! 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11
Why should I have been shocked? I'm ashamed to say that I'd pretty much written him off as a lost cause. And from a human perspective, he probably was. We've all been born into Adam's sinful race, and are totally unable to save ourselves. It is foolish for us to trust other fellow sinners to make a good decision! But Christ IS worthy of our trust. God knows no such thing as a lost cause.The Creator and Master of the Universe is not limited. He forgives sin. He changes hearts. He gives us hope!
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b,14
David recognized his hopeless state. He threw himself upon the mercy of God, and God graciously forgave his sin and clothed him with Christ's righteousness.
...not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. - Philippians 3:9b
David went to be with his Savior the last week of October.
Praise God for the hope that we have in Christ!