Thursday, October 04, 2007

The "All" in His Abounding Grace

It is time for a personal testimony that I pray will become real personal to you. I have often wondered, as I assume you have, what would I do in a dark, terrible moment of sorrow and grief. How would I respond? The question always hung in space, unanswered, twirling before my mind. Well, this is a postcard from the unthinkable. Let me tell you what it is like.

I am not going to focus on the pain today, even though it is still very real. I am going to focus on God's grace. When and I do mean when, you suffer as one of His children, He really is present. He is genuinely drawn to His children and to others when we suffer. I want to add that He is more than just with you, although having Him with you is greater than having anyone else with you. No, he is not just a silent partner in your pain. He, well, how can I say it? I know, I will let the Apostle Paul say it. Paul was a man experienced in grief, struggle and suffering. 2Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

God is able. This means that the only thing between God's ability and your need is you and what you are willing to surrender to Him. Now, look at all the times Paul uses the word "All." We have access to all of God's grace. Grace is God's powerful working in our lives to do what we are incapable of doing. In Christ you get all grace which means that you get every kind of grace for every kind of impossible situation. Did you notice that it "abounds" to you. This is cornucopia language. This overflows like a basket of beautiful, fresh fruit. "So that in all things," stop there, whatever your painful struggle might be, stop comparing it to someone going through worse trials and miss what God has for you. Whatever you face is covered in "all things." "At all times," is another all inclusive statement. I find his grace saturates my times with him, with others and with God's word. I have "all" that I need. That is a powerful definition of God's grace. I may think I need some things or may intensely want something else but He gives me all I need. Sometimes it is like medicine, bitter to the taste, at other times it is a sweet desert made by a caring friend, but make no mistake it is his grace. Now, here is God's purpose and promise, "you will abound in every good work." God has a good work he is doing in and through this pain. That is more than something I hope or trust is true, it is true! Notice the language again, not the repeated "all" but the repeated use of "abound."

I for one, am glad that our Heavenly Father is a prodigal loving God because I have a prodigal heart. I love the way he receives the penitent sinner with open arms and an open heart. He throws a huge party, a great feast of fatted calf and restores completely and abundantly. He is quick to give responsibility because he has a good work in which he want his sons to abound. Question. What stands between you and God's ability to make all of his grace abound in your life of circumstances? Fear? Guilt and shame? A personal sense of unworthiness? Maybe, like the prodigal son and myself, you have a plan, an agenda for how to get back in his good graces. No, he has grace for you before you outline your plan to him.
I am amazed at the language of this verse. Paul says "God is able to make all grace abound to you." The shortage is not on his end. The failure is with you. James says that we simple do not have because we do not ask. Ask, believe and receive. Just now, stop reading and simply pray. Surrender you heart to him, and receive grace. Ask the Lord to come into your life, your situation and bring his abundant grace. He will. He certainly has in my life. He is able, are you
willing? Pain will drive you. Either it will press you away from him or further into his chest. You get to choose.

Ed Litton

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pastor for your willingness to share your journey through pain with all of us. It has helped me grow in my walk with the LORD.
"where sin abounds Grace much more abounds"

Anonymous said...

You broke the night like the sun and healed my heart with your great love.
Any trouble I couldnt bear, You lifted me upon your shoulders.
Love thats stronger,love that covers sin and takes the weight of the world.
I love you,all of my hope is in you.
Jesus Christ take my life take all of me.
You stand on mountaintops with me, with you I walk through the valley.
You gave your only son for me,Your grace is all I rely on.
I love you so and I give up my life to say I need you so-
my everything.
Take all of me - Hillsong

Anonymous said...

In spite of questioning everything through this process of grief-my salvation,why I had to obey God's word when so many other people dont,struggling with wanting to sin-thinking about it but not actually doing it.
I've not been able to deny the truth of his word and my faith in it.I still believe.
Still trying to process this-still trying to make sense of it this scripture came to my mind this very morning-"your faith of greater worth than gold"where was that?I found it in IPet1:6-7- though you've suffered grief in all kinds of trials they have come, so that, your faith,( which is more valuable than gold and perishes when refined by fire)may be proved genuine resulting in praise,glory and honor...
My faith has been refined by fire and is still being tried-this process continues.I hope I continue to persevere.I hope to be found faithful at the end of the day.
The word translated 'grief' in my NIV is 'temptations' in the KJ, but in the greek it is "a putting to proof" to scrutinize, examine,test through piercing.
God says my faith is more precious than gold.
Jesus told Peter, Satan has asked to sift you but I have prayed that your faith not fail.
I've asked God that your faith not fail you or your children.I'm believing it won't.

Karen Andrus said...

Pastor ED I am reading this tonight as my husband, Joey, is in the trauma unit at USA hospital. He has been fighting to live since Oct. 6 when he was in an accident at work. A friend left a comment on the website that we have set up for Joey at caringbridge.com. She referred me to your blog. Thank you for sharing this. I am encouraged by your story. Karen Andrus