But God’s grace is greater

Romans 5:15 There is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

“Please, sir. I want some more.”

The first minute of this scene from “Oliver” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tOkpntQtBM, could be seen as a caricature of an idea of God that some of us grew up believing. At the Bumbles’ orphanage, the best way to survive—to avoid wrath and punishment—was to keep one’s head down, follow the rules, be as invisible as possible, and express neither opinions nor needs. When Oliver drew the short straw in the “more, please” dare, the consequences he suffered were severe.

This picture—thank God! even when toned down—bears no relation to what our Father is like.

One of my friends often says, “Where there’s some, there’s more.” I’ve pondered this idea for years. What does it mean? I’ve noticed my friend using this phrase in two contexts, one in relation to personal need, and the other in relation to others’ needs. In both cases, the phrase expresses a life philosophy of abundance, in contrast with zero-sum, which does make sense if God is not in the picture. She would attribute her view to God’s inexhaustible nature and his openhanded care for his children.

My friend might say, for example, “I can share freely, because I can count on God giving even more abundantly to me.” Or “I can receive with joy, because there’s more where that came from—enough for everyone!” These are revolutionary thoughts for someone who grew up like I did, with a recurring nightmare as a young child of ending my life because there wasn’t “enough” of anything to go around to all eight of us kids.

This weekend I was caught off guard by strong words from several friends. I found myself thinking, “Where there’s some, there’s more. I love these people. Behind my love is God’s amazing, limitless love for them. I don’t need to become reactive. I can draw from the richness and depth of God’s love and respond gently.” A baby step toward living out of his unfailing “More.”

This morning I woke up with the wonderful words of this hymn by Don Moen filling my heart with gratitude https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOhFfSFK7TQ:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

              His love has no limit . . .

God’s greatest Gift, the Word made flesh—the precious Child we honor this sixth day of Christmas, visible image of the invisible God—shows us what our Father is like. John says God’s unfailing love and faithfulness come to us through Jesus, grace upon grace (1:16-17).

As I contemplate 2020, my deepest desire is to grow into this grace, to notice and actively embrace what leads to love. Will you join me? Tell me your story.

Alleluia, to us a child is born.

O come, let us adore him.

One thought on “But God’s grace is greater

  1. But even greater is God’s grace…
    No where does that become more evident than when we face difficulties, trials, problems and deserts. One of my two year verses is 2Co 12:7-10 where God clearly brings difficulties, trials and problems into Paul’s life so that his grace might abound. As someone once paraphrased the heart of verses 9-10, God’s grace shows up best in weak people.
    What a challenge! To embrace weaknesses, ours and that of others, as a channel through which to see God’s grace revealed.

    Liked by 1 person

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