Friday, June 1, 2007

Wasted Grace

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain…” (1 Cor. 15:10a)

My daughter, Leah, shared a sweet story with me that she heard a preacher tell some time ago. She decided to commit it to paper while it was fresh in her mind, and I have decided to share it with you. I think it will inspire us and cause us to evaluate our lives once again.

Several years ago, the story was told of a young lady named Carol Lee who was a student at the University of Georgia at Athens. She was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Gaucher's Disease. At that time, less than 4,000 individuals in the United States suffered from the disease.

Probably in an attempt to utilize their time and resources wisely, it is the practice of the FDA not to extensively research cures for any disease that has 200,000 or less known cases.

The effects of Gaucher's disease include the swelling of one's internal organs, accompanied by severe bone deterioration. It is extremely painful; and, at the time that this story took place, there was no known treatment or cure for it.

Carol Lee was destined to die; there was no doubt about that. Then a tiny pharmaceutical company in Georgia heard of her plight and took it upon themselves to research a treatment for her condition. They eventually found a drug or combination of drugs that would at least arrest the condition and give her more time.

They contacted Carol Lee's family to tell them the good news/bad news. Good news: they had found a drug to treat and temporarily arrest Gaucher's disease. Bad news: the treatment would literally cost $1,400 per day. Without hesitation, Carol Lee's father, who was a multi-millionaire, ordered the treatment to begin.

As the father began to exhaust his resources, the family resorted to selling personal items to secure the funds for Carol Lee's treatment. The touching story soon became public. One day, in a news interview, Carol Lee was asked how she felt about the fact that her father was virtually bankrupting himself to keep her alive. She responded, "Many nights, as I lie back on my pillow to drift off to sleep, I have to wonder... 'Did I live a life today that was worth $1,400?’"

And many nights, as I lie back on my pillow and drift off to sleep, I have to wonder... "Did I live a life today that was worth the very life of God's Son?" Or did I "waste" His grace

Obviously, the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, but, as the verse in First Corinthians tells us, even Paul recognized that humanly speaking, and for all practical purposes, it is possible for a child of God live a life so self-centered that it appears void of any useful purpose. We need not do great things every day, but we can be involved in meaningful activities regularly. I try to spot check my own life from time to time with this searchlight: What am I doing that will outlive me? That is one reason I chose (and was able, thank God) to give my children a full-time mother while they were still in our home. It was the best (and most satisfying) investment I ever made.

That is also why I write. I have read enough books, old and new, to know that great thoughts and ideas outlast slick book covers and smart advertising. This is not to say that my thoughts are always great but that the subject matter is! If I can give lost men, women, and children good reason to consider the claims of Jesus Christ, and if I can inspire other believers—especially women—to want to please Him in every aspect of their lives, then I will have a satisfying answer to my own question. As Leah said, the grace of God is worth far more than $1400 a day. It is worth all I am and have.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so Divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

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