i am currently reading a book called, The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. Yup, that’s where I got the name of this blog from. i really identify with the name ‘ragamuffin’ because it speaks of a messed up person, someone who hasn’t got it all together, someone with faults and failures in his resume of life.

i’ve been a christian for almost 5 years and sometime ago i knew the honeymoon is over. It is time to grow up. God is calling me into a deeper relationship with him. one which is not based on a carrot-and-stick approach anymore. as most believers can testify, it is not as plain sailing as we might think. true growth is found only in the crucible of life and none of his children will be spared of it.

there are times when i feel like such a failure. all my sincere efforts to live up to the christian name have only forced me to see how far short i am of that ideal. i’ve lost count of how many times i’ve stumbled and fall, indulged in self-abasement, became disillusioned, fearful, doubtful, worried. Guilt was the greatest one of them, a very potent weapon of the enemy. i have always known theoritically that God accepts me anyway and always will because it was never based on my performance to begin with. Our acceptence has always and will ever be for all eternity, a gift of grace through the sacrifice of Jesus. So all such feelings are an insult to God, as though his gift to me is not good enough. But knowing this in theory does not bring me far when the flame rises. it is knowing by exprience, with each fall, each failure, each fear and doubt that i can really begin to believe it in my heart that God is faithfull even when i am faithless. we often loose sight of him while walking through our struggles only to discover he had never for a moment let loose his grip on us. there is a lovely poem someone wrote a long time ago that has brought so much encouragement to people everywhere and i want to share it here.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish,
sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“The years when you have seen only one set of footprints,
my child, is when I carried you.”

Mary Stevenson© 1984

just yesterday i felt God speaking to me through the words of Brennan in Ragamuffin Gospel.

“Has it crossed your mind that i am proud you accepted the gift of faith i offered you? proud that you freely chose me, after i had chosen you, as your friend and Lord? Proud that with all your warts and wrinkles you haven’t given up? proud that you believe in me enough to try again and again?…..Alas, i am sad when you do not believe that i have totally forgiven you.”

and the tears that was shed as i read it was one of deep gratitude, love and relief. what will i ever do without him? i have never known such love, didn’t thought it was possible. yet here i am today, with all my “warts and wrinkles”, a beloved child of God.