Verses I Never Saw: “There But for the Grace of God Go I”
Featuring Marcus Grodi/
April 15, 2014
This well-known proverbial saying is how I must begin as I consider sharing the Scriptures that God has used to open my very hard heart and stubborn mind. Whenever I see someone lost in sin, ignorance, bitter anger, abhorrent poverty, or addiction to false gods, I know that my on-going salvation has little to do with me, my intellect, or my will, but mostly God’s love, grace, and mercy. Even the little that has to do with my efforts—and continues to be my responsibility—is still only an active response to His grace. It’s all a gift. All of it. Thanks be to God.
The phrase “Verses I Never Saw” best describes my whole spiritual journey. From a very early age, I became introduced to the Scriptures, but, more often than not, I just didn’t see them. I was in places where they were preached and taught; I read them, over and over daily; I heard them expounded on television and radio; I experienced them in seminary when my classmates and I debated and fought over them; I even preached and taught on them myself, but, in far too many ways, I failed to hear what God was trying to tell me.
Like a stopped military clock, there were times when I thought I understood what Scripture was teaching me. Then later I discovered, however, sometimes with great embarrassment, how wrong I had been. Other times, I discovered Scriptures I just had never seen before—that I somehow had read past and over (and even wondered whether someone had surreptitiously inserted them between the lines of my Bible). It was only over time, however, like the drip, drip of a life-saving anti-biotic, that the Spirit helped me see these Scriptures and hear His message more clearly—maybe when He perceived in His timing I was ready.
Others have told me of the same experiences with Scripture, as if God purposely holds back the fullness until the time is right for each of us— when we have matured enough to receive a particular Scripture, or because we need a particular Scripture to help us mature. Regardless, I’m confident than any avid, sincere reader of Scripture could compile his or her own completely unique selection of key “life altering” Scriptures.
I’m sharing this, not because I believe my personal journey is of any significance, or because I have been particularly successful in living out anything of what I have learned from Him through His Word. Nor because I’m a particularly skilled theologian or exegete, for these I am not! Nor are the following short reflections intended to pose as thorough exegetical studies. Rather, I merely want to serve Him who by His grace I have come to know and love.
If what I have discovered can help you, then praise be to God. If not, then maybe let me know, for my only desire is to help others experience the same hope and joy that I have received from Him.