2017-10-26 / Editorial Page

College student finds upside to making bad grades

Words of Encouragement
By ROGER ALFORD
columnist

Upon finishing his first semester at college, a young man told his dad he had great news.

“Do you remember that $500 you promised me if I made the Dean’s List?”

“I certainly do,” his dad said excitedly.

“Well, you get to keep it,” the young man said.

I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the news that father wanted to hear. Every father wants their children to do well and to have a great future. The same is true for our Heavenly Father.

‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

Nothing could be clearer in reading the Bible than God’s tremendous love for us. It shines forth from perhaps the best-known verse in all of scripture: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).

God’s amazing grace, written about so eloquently in the song by John Newton, can be seen throughout the Bible. Newton, who once captained ships transporting slaves in one of the darkest chapters of world history, marveled at God’s forgiveness after being born again, and he penned the lyrics ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.’

Through God’s grace, Newton left behind his dreadfully sinful life on the slave ships and became not only a Christian but also a preacher of the gospel.

God wanted better for Newton. And Newton wisely took Him up on His offer of salvation. He also wants better for each of us, because He loves us so. And, if we’re wise, we’ll accept his amazing grace, too.

I’ve known some people over the years who felt like they’ve done things God could never forgive. But they’re selling God’s mercy short. He loves us so much that He sent his only begotten Son that we might live with Him eternally.

‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:35,37-39).

I appreciated the college boy’s effort to put a positive spin on his failure to get his name on the Dean’s List. I’m certain that father was disappointed. How much greater the disappointment would be for our Heavenly Father if we fail to get our names in the Book of Life.

Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at rogeralford1@gmail.com.

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