I love the gazebo scene when Captain von Trapp and Maria confess their mutual love. Obviously, I'm a hopeless romantic! But lately the lyrics to the song, "I Must've Done Something Good," have been making me think
Yes, it's a beautiful song, as nearly all Rodgers and Hammerstein songs are. But the basic premise implies that our good deeds merit God's blessing. Despite her wayward past, Maria interprets the Captain's love as evidence that she has done something (although she can't imagine what) to merit his love.
Granted, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the piece as a secular song, not as Christian theology, and I appreciate it in its own context. I just find it interesting, and perhaps sad, at how accurately it portrays human eagerness to believe we can do anything to deserve God's favor.
I like to think I can, by being obedient to the Lord, obligate Him to answer my prayers according to my specifications. And I can recall at least one instance when I actually said out loud that God had given me a certain item because of my faithfulness to Him. But such ideas fly in the face of grace, presupposing that He could somehow be indebted to me.
"Nothing comes from nothing," I used to sing with Maria, assured that any good thing God did for me derived from my worthiness. I'd lost sight of how completely unworthy I am. Grace bypasses my unworthiness, magnifying the Father's inexplicable generosity. Rather than say, with false humility, that I must have done something to deserve a gift from Him, I've learned to praise Him for His goodness.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. ~~James 1:16-18 (ESV)