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There, But By The Grace Of God Go I!

Have you ever wondered, “What was I thinking?” Probably the craziest time in my life was my teen years. I had a wonderful Christian mother and was also surrounded by sincere believers in Christ. That, however did not stop me from doing stupid things, like shoplifting, vandalism and even breaking into a store to steal from others. By God’s grace, yes, HIS GRACE, I was eventually caught and punished. Several weeks of incarceration halted my life of crime, but it would not be until several years later that I would return to the wonderful life that Christ had planned for me.

To this day I do not understand how I could have hurt my mother so. How I could embarrass my family and shame myself after all the good things I had been taught and the examples I had seen?

This experience has taught me to be cautious of how I look at others. If God had not intervened for me through the justice system, through supportive family, friends and teachers, what direction my life might have taken? These are things for which I cannot take any credit.

However this cautiousness in itself does not satisfy my concerns for the situations we as a society, a community are in. If I look at a young person whose main activity in life is exploiting other young people by hooking them on addicting chemicals, or if I see the devastation that another young man causes through terrorism, yes, I can say, “there but by God’s grace go I.” Under the same circumstances of course, that could have been me. While this realization may help me, does it help anyone else?

People need compassion and empathy, but they also need the truth. They need direction, like the direction I received as a teen. I fear that in our day we like to take the easy way out. It can be very difficult to find the balance between compassion and lovingly telling the truth. We have to start somewhere. We cannot walk in everyone elses shoes, but we do all have some things in common. We have all sinned and have come short of the glory of God. We can all receive forgiveness and restoration through faith in the work that Jesus accomplished for us in His death and resurrection.

When I remember how obstinate and hard-headed I was as a teenager, I can understand how our youth might be motivated to do stupid things as well. At the same time, my hope is that they do not have to make the same mistakes. This may sound hard on my part, but if they do make these kinds of mistakes, I pray that God’s grace might provide for the helpful kind of discipline that I received back then!

Perhaps you could join with me in praying for the necessary wisdom to reach others with compassion and faith. These are so needed in our time.


  1. David Anderson

    Hi brother. It’s too bad that the older guys who led you to a better path did not all get to see the reward of their labors. You (and the Lady of the House) are a blessing to many.

    It’s too wonderful to look back and realize that God was ruling and over-ruling in our personal affairs. We are like the ancient King who boasted that he did not touch the wife of one of the Patriarchs. God reminded him: It was me who restrained you from touching her.

    Likewise Joseph could tell his relatives that although they meant evil – God had good things in mind. To bless many people to come.

    Yes, I will pray that prayer with you that others will be touched and become motivated to seek salvation of body and soul.

    Looking at that photo here, I was reminded of the popular poem about Footprints in the Sand. Here is a sequel, though I don’t know who wrote it. It does call us to greater maturity for the Kingdom cause. Warning! It might make you smile…


    One night I had a wondrous dream,
    One set of footprints there was seen,
    The footprints of my precious Lord,
    But mine were not along the shore.

    But then some stranger prints appeared,
    And I asked the Lord, “What have we here?”
    Those prints are large and round and neat,
    “But Lord, they are too big for feet.”

    “My child,” He said in somber tones,
    “For miles I carried you alone.
    I challenged you to walk in faith,
    But you refused and made me wait.”

    “You disobeyed, you would not grow,
    The walk of faith, you would not know,
    So I got tired, I got fed up,
    And there I dropped you on your butt.”

    “Because in life, there comes a time,
    When one must fight, and one must climb,
    When one must rise and take a stand,
    Or leave their butt prints in the sand.”

    • Dan Beaty

      David, thanks for the kind words and reminder of the sovereign love of God. Also for the humorous follow up of Footprints in the Sand. There was actually some balance added there!

      By the way, I took that picture from Navarre Beach in the Florida panhandle some years ago.

  2. Naomi Boro

    Hello Dan, i also want to stand in prayer with you.

    • Dan Beaty

      Thank you!

      • David Anderson

        We truly should have eyes of pity for those with broken spirits and broken bodies, too. Yes, that broken person could have been YOU or ME.

        Sadly, many atheists and skeptics dismiss God because of “all the suffering on this earth.” But, it is this very suffering which the Almighty has called upon his people to address.

        At the judgment, Jesus shall declare: I was in this and that condition and you did NOTHING. Depart from me….

        Consider also God’s work behind the scenes. As he rules and over-rules: For those who desire to look at their situations from an unusual angle, ponder these words from’s God’s point of view:

        For who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have which you did not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? 1 Corinthians 4

        Yes, there but by God’s grace go I.

        Prayers ascending.

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