Immeasurably More

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My life is immeasurably more than I ever imagined. Yes, I have a serious illness. Yes, retirement income is dismal. Yes, making ends meet is difficult. Yes, waiting on a kidney transplant is challenging. Yet the blessings that I receive from God every day that I live is immeasurably more than I deserve.

I often think of the scripture that talks about Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith. It is part of a beautiful passage in the third chapter of Ephesians. I am constantly amazed that Christ dwells in my heart through faith. It is a miracle of God that enables Christ to dwell in my heart, to be literally inside me, to make all the difference in my life. That profound thought leaves me without words of my own. Instead, I leave you with the rest of the passage in Ephesians:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 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. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:17-21

Resting in God’s Love

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Where do I find God? There are times when, for whatever the reason, I feel estranged from God. There are times when, though my faith tells me that God is near, I simply do not feel God’s presence. During those times, my prayer seems empty. I cannot connect to God. I cannot sense God’s love. I feel lost and confused. I cannot make myself believe that God loves me.

Sometimes God speaks to me through the words of others. Bishop Steven Charleston writes these comforting words:

You are not lost. Not to me.
And never will be.
No matter where you may be,
no matter how far or deep or dark
or empty or alone or confusing or new
or complex or tangled
or bad or difficult,
I will find you.
I will find you and I will be with you.
I will come to you and hold you and care for you
and uplift you and protect you
and heal you and save you
and bring you home.
So you never need be afraid.
Never. For you will not be lost, not to me.
I have you. Now and forever.
Be at peace and rest in that peace.
You will never be in a place my love cannot find.
So says our God.

Without fail, I eventually return to peace. I find my way back, every time, and I find myself again resting in God’s love.

Love Has the Last Word

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My last blog post spoke of being unable to escape adversity. And it is true that we will not get through this life without adversity, no matter how hard we try. The path we walk is steep and winding, leading us forward through all sorts of dangers, toils and snares. The road can be frightening. It can be challenging.

We navigate in a world that is sometimes filled with terror and hate. But the best news for us comes from Bishop Steven Charleston.

The final word to our lives will not be terror or hate. Even if they seem overwhelming now, they will not define us or control us. Other forces are at work, deep forces that move silently among us, drawing us closer against the storm. Whenever human beings face disaster together, whatever that peril may be, our ancient instinct for compassion rises up to unite us in common cause. We do not shatter beneath the blows. We only grow stronger. No, fear and hate will never have the last word. Love will.

There is no better news than that!

I love the hymn Amazing Love. How Can it Be. The words of the fourth stanza give me new and fresh hope.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me?

Love has the last word.

It Lights the Whole Sky

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The sunrise each morning reminds me that God loves me like the brilliance of the sunlight. In fact, God loves us in so many ways, through so many gifts — the evening sky, the starlight, a gentle rain, a cooling breeze, the brilliant sunlight. In so many ways, God says, “I love you.” And God’s miracles, large and small, enlighten our path.

The longer I live, the more grateful I am for God’s love and care. The more I marvel at God’s graces. The more I give thanks for God’s protection. Every fresh new morning gifts me with the faithfulness of God. Every sunrise fills my spirit with bright new hope. Every day, without failure, the sun rises to bring light to my day.

In the words of the poet, Hāfez, that kind of love “lights the whole sky.”

And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.

― Hāfez