It was the most unforgettable Thanksgiving day of his life.
Probably the most unforgettable day of his life, period.
But he doesn’t remember any of it.
He remembers waking up, getting out of bed, and taking a first sip of coffee.
But that’s all.
He doesn’t remember the coffee cup shattering as it hit the floor.
He doesn’t remember the wet thump of his skull hitting the kitchen counter.
He doesn’t remember his three-year-old daughter crying, “What’s wrong with Daddy?”
He remembers waking up the next day in the Hospital.
He remembers the first doctor saying, “You had a seizure.”
He remembers the second doctor saying, “There’s something in your brain.”
He remembers the third doctor saying, “It’s cancer.”
“…and it doesn’t look good.”
He’s a friend of mine.
He’s one of the Godliest men I know.
He’s a great pastor to his church, he’s a great husband to his wife, and he’s a great father to his kids.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that he didn’t wake up on Thanksgiving morning three years ago and say, “This is it… this is the day my life explodes.”
But it was.
Where was God?
In these moments, we are prone to ask, “Where was God?”
And you know what?
There’s nothing wrong with that.
That’s a perfectly fair question.
Because while I don’t know if God caused those rogue cells in my friend’s brain to go crazy and form a tumor, or if God just allowed it to happen, or whatever.
I do know this, God absolutely could’ve stopped it.
But He didn’t.
God saw that Thanksgiving day coming from eternity past.
And He didn’t stop it.
There are no pithy, ‘tweetable’ answers for that.
That’s something you have to wrestle with.
But what I want to talk about today is the other side of that equation.
I want to talk about The 28,497.
In an average life, you will live 28,497 days.
28,497 times you will wake up.
28,497 times you will get out of bed.
28,497 times, you know what will happen next?
You’ll walk out the door and have a normal day.
You won’t have a seizure.
Your little girl won’t ask, “What’s wrong with Daddy?”
You won’t discover a malignant tumor in your brain.
See, it’s fair to ask, “Why do bad things happen?”
But it’s just as fair to ask, “Why don’t bad things happen more often?”
Or for that matter, “Why do good things happen?”
If that life-shattering day came for you as it did for my friend, you should be willing to ask, “Why?”
But if it hasn’t, you should be just as willing to ask, “Why not?”
Why do the dead men walk?
Here are two things The Bible is very clear about.
First, we’re all guilty of “sin” (Romans 3:23 et al).
That includes you- and me.
Second, according to God, the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23, et al).
But here’s the thing.
You’re not dead.
You’re walking and talking and breathing.
Do you know what that is?
That’s the grace and mercy of God being poured out on you.
In Christian Theology, we have a name for this kind of grace.
We call it “common grace”.
Common Grace and The Why of it all
The Bible speaks of God’s ‘common grace’ many times.
“He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” -Matthew 5:45 (ESV)
“He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” -Luke 6:35 (ESV)
“The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” -Psalm 145:9 (ESV)
And as always, God has a purpose for his ‘common grace’.
The ‘common grace’ of God proclaims an even greater Grace, the ultimate Grace, which is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” -2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)
This is the ultimate Grace to which all ‘common grace’ testifies, the good news of The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Through sin, all humanity is alienated from fellowship with God and at war against him, but God entered into human history as the man Jesus Christ. He lived a life without sin, He bore on the cross the punishment for sin that we deserve, He died, He was buried, and He rose from death three days later, so that all who come to Him will be saved from the curse of sin, its effects, and the righteous wrath of God- by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
The End (and Hope) of the matter
Here’s the truth, friend.
You are blessed.
You are so blessed!
There is so much mercy and grace that is being flagrantly thrown at you by God- 28,497 days’ worth of it.
Oh, that there could be words enough in all the tongues of men and angels to speak of His Goodness to us!
For everyone, but especially my non-Christian friends, I hope you will recognize the ‘common’ grace of God in your life, and that it will lead you to a knowledge of and love for the ultimate “Grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). I pray that God will do what only he can, opening your eyes and creating in you a new heart.
It may be that even now, through his ‘common grace’, God is drawing you to himself.
Maybe that is why you can remember your Thanksgiving day.
Maybe that is why you got to take more than one sip of coffee.
Maybe that is His reason behind all of your reasons- your 28,497 reasons to be thankful.
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