I was at a church retreat two weekends ago, where I sang this song. Part of the preparation for worship leading is to dwell on the words, and let them speak to me. Only then can I sing so that others may hear. Sharing my thoughts on this beautiful rendition.
The verses start with questions on the character and nature of God, in contrast to what we know about ourselves.
Will your grace run out if I let you down?
Will you call me child if I tell you lies?
‘Cause all I know is how to run
‘Cause all I know is how to cry
Who is God? Is he as fickle as man? Does his love have limits? The chorus answers the questions, but does it in reverse. Starting with who are are –
I am a sinner
Then moving on to who God is –
You are a Saviour
You take brokenness aside and make it beautiful
We know we are all sinners saved by grace. But God touches our hearts the most and speaks to our souls the loudest when we recognise and acknowledge our sinfulness. This is why Jesus says in Luke 7:47
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
The recognition of God’s amazing gift of grace starts with the admission of our wretchedness. And the one who considers himself most broken is the one who appreciates the cross the most – a thing of ugliness (it was the worst and most tortuous form of capital punishment ever devised) transformed into a thing of beauty (a symbol of hope, redemption, love, sacrifice, etc.)
to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
God loves us so much that he saves us. He not only saves, he redeems – he pays the price for our rescue. Then, not being satisfied with merely saving us, he restores us. He takes our fallen, sinful nature – our brokenness – and shapes us into the person he has destined us to be – his children, co-heirs in Christ.
He loves us so much that he is not satisfied in leaving us as he found us. But why does he even bother? If you read the last line in Isaiah 61:3
that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, THAT HE MAY BE GLORIFIED.
We are thankful for what God has done in our lives, and rightly so, because he has transformed us. We reap the benefits. But when we focus merely on what God has done for us, we lose sight of the greater purpose. We are redeemed, restored, and renewed not so that people can say, “Wow, look at him / her.” We have become new creations so that we may show the world how great our God is. As Paul puts it –
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17, 20
Our stories as redeemed people are not merely our own. They are God’s stories, testament to his awesome power, his boundless love, and his glorious presence.
What is your story of grace and redemption? God works through the ugliest parts of us to show the most wonderful parts of himself.