Thursday, May 14, 2015

Abundant Life? For Me?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10 (ESV)

Do you ever have days when you ask, “Are you there God?  Are you really working in my life?”  I have to be honest, there have been days when I may not have wondered if God was there- but I wondered if maybe He chooses not to work in my life for a while.  There are some days I am like Habakkuk as he cries out to the Lord, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Habakkuk 1:2 NIV).  At the same time, it is in those days that God is saying, “I never left you; I will never leave you; Just come unto me my child and I will be your comforter, your rescuer, your provider. Remember my child, I came so that you may have life and have it abundantly!”  

An abundant life consists of a profusion of the fruits of the Spirit-  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control   (Galatians 5:22-23), not an abundance of “things”.  It consists of life that is eternal and, as such, our interest is in the eternal, not the temporal. Paul admonishes us: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2).   An abundant life does not mean we will have all the riches we desire, nor a trouble free life.  You see abundant living is not just when everything is going “right”, but even while we are going through the worst of times, we can live abundantly in the here and now.

I remember when Jim and I lost our baby many years ago.  The aching in my heart was so painful, yet as I lay on my hospital bed in tears I began to sing a little chorus, “There’s something mighty sweet about the Lord; there’s something mighty sweet about the Lord; it really doesn’t matter, what the people say, there’s something mighty sweet”.  The nurse phoned my husband who had gone home to be with our then 5 year old daughter, Heather, and told him they think I am losing my mind because I am singing a song.  Jim asked the nurse what song I was singing, in bewilderment she told him and he replied, “Tell my wife that Heather and I are singing the same song tonight too!”  Were we crazy?  Maybe; were we grieving?  Most assuredly!  But our Lord promised us abundant life – today and every day.  Not just on the “good” days, but even in the so called worst days of our lives.  Again, as Habakkuk wrote later in chapter 3:17-19, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”   So through our tears, our sorrow, our heartache, we were praising our Savior and letting Him and everyone around us know that even through our pain, our God is mighty no matter what happens in our lives – because our God is still God – whether we have little or have much – we have life and have it more abundantly – today and every day; for our God is mighty – our God is faithful.

In what ways is your life abundant?  Do you praise the Lord even through your sorrow, pain and trials?  Have you found that even through it all – you still have joy, peace, love etc…– and have it more abundantly?  If not, what is keeping you from the abundant life that our Lord and Savior promise?

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

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