Sharpening my focus on God’s goodness
Sixty-three scripture passages referring in some capacity to the immeasurable amount of love God has for us can be found in any Bible, from Genesis to Revelations. This is what my concordance shows me, although I haven’t taken the time to read all them myself yet. But what inspired me to think about this was re-reading part of my thesis. I re-entered a time warp of my 20s while I was initially searching for minor copy errors to prepare for a writing contest. I am so grateful that the ten years this memoir covers are over.
Life is completely different geographically, relationally and spiritually, and I have been awakened to the subtle and not so subtle ways in which God was with me when I didn’t realize or recognize it. In spite of my rebellion God was with me. In spite of my disobedience, God was with me. In spite of my unfaithfulness, I was not unloved. Those bad choices brought me to the place where I am today and shaped me into who I am now. Christ has truly brought forth beauty from my ashes.
Within this last week, what could have been a demoralizing trial, what could have unfurled as a horrific storm blew over and left the sun shining in its wake. But even if I was in the midst of the storm, I am more convinced than ever that God would guide me through it. “Near misses all around me, accidents unknown, though I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home,” from Angels, recorded by Amy Grant (1983) reminds me of this truth as well. I often have no idea of extent to which God spares me from calamity every single day, and rarely do I extend a thank you for that.
Christ has not changed, rather, my blurred perception of who He is slowly turning into sharper focus, and that itself is a blessing.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God,” writes Paul in Ephesians 3: 17-19. Further commentary from my Life Application reveals that God’s love is total. It reaches every corner of our experience. It is wide. His love covers the breadth of our experience, and it reaches out to the entire world. God’s love is long. It continues the length of our lives. It is high – it rises to the heights of our celebration and elation. His love is deep – it reaches to the depths of our discouragement, despair and even death.
Despite the headlines that trumpet tragedy, murder, destruction, disaster and doom in this world, God is faithful in His devotion and love. Despite our disappointment, our heart-ache, and our grief, God is listening to our prayers. We focus on His love and goodness, not this world. We focus on His love and meditate on His goodness while we wait for our future spouse, children, a change in employment or any other circumstances. The Bible commands us to thank and praise God in all circumstances, but I find this easier to do when my skies are sunny. When the rain does pour and the wind does howl, I will hopefully already be in the habit – or at least I should know which verses are to read – through clenched teeth if need be.
Have you recognized the blessings and goodness of God in your life today?