God’s scandalous grace invaded Portage, Wisconsin, with unwelcomed splendor in April of 1994. It targeted a criminal serving multiple life-sentences in the Columbia Correctional Institution. It’s not uncommon for thieves and murderers in prison to receive God’s grace, but this day was different. The person who attracted God’s love was a man who killed 17 young men.
It’s been about eight years since I first picked up a Bible and read it out of pure desire and intrigue. I’ve had access to a Bible most of my life, but the reality is that it spent most of it’s being collecting dust on a shelf in my room. Every once in a while, it would get dusted off only to be used as an accessory while attending the yearly Christmas Eve and/or Easter morning church services.
Pain can come packaged in many different ways. While one can encounter this burden through the loss of a loved one, another could have lost a job or even found out that they’re battling a life-threatening sickness. Regardless of how; pain is very, very real. Pain is not something we can avoid in life no matter how hard we really try. It’s a vital part of our human existence, and if treated correctly, will harvest much wisdom and knowledge.
I have frequently thought to myself that if God fully knows me, then there is no way that He could fully love me. My sin is too ugly, I’ve been too broken, and I’ve wondered too far. The reality is, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Bible tells me so. One of the many beautiful things about the Gospel is that we are both fully known by God and fully loved by God. That’s true beauty.