The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Exceeding, Abundantly Above"
How many prayers does a born again Christian pray from the time he or she comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ, until the time comes to go home to be with Him?
"Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17).
The answer varies, of course, and in real terms, the quantity of our prayers does not matter nearly as much as their quality. However, I raise the issue not so much about this aspect of our communion with God, but rather to consider the question: How many answers do we see to the prayers we pray? Or, even more, how many answers do we not see?
Certainly, the number is vast for believers who seek to consistently and persistently "let your requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:6). Consider the Apostle Paul's assurance of such grace, expressed to the believers of Ephesus:
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21).
As we pray for others and for ourselves with humble, trusting, and sincere hearts, our Father's answers transcend our asking, and even our thinking. They do so to the measure of "exceeding, abundantly above." This means we cannot possibly know all He does, or even most of what He does when we ask and He answers.
Why is this so? First, because God exists as being of gracious generosity, again, to the degree of "exceeding, abundantly above all we ask or think." He so loves to give because lovingkindness so fills His glorious heart. The Psalmist referred to such wonder as "Thy marvelous lovingkindness," and what a marvel it is! (Psalm 17:7). Upon our arrival in Heaven and into the direct presence of our Lord, we will know far better this eternally glorious splendor of a Heart devoted to providing all His creation will ever need, and infinitely more. "Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing" (Psalm 145:16). Surely, our glorified hearts will more clearly behold the "wonders without number" our Father has already bestowed, with more to come beyond any accounting we can fathom or imagine (Job 9:10). But even then, they will not behold all. "Without number…"
Most wondrously, we will also see upon our arrival in Heaven the tangible evidence of the price paid to make possible God's abundance of provision.
"Behold My hands; and reach hither Thy hand, and thrust it into My side" (John 20:27).
The Lord Jesus said these words to His disciple Thomas, who desired visible confirmation of his Master's resurrection. The Savior's beckoning rings through the ages, calling us to recall the cost of not only our salvation, but of every gift we will ever know throughout an everlasting eternity.
"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
The next breath we breathe, so freely given, cost the Father His Son, and cost the Savior sorrow, pain, forsakenness, and death to a degree that can only be known by the gifts purchased thereby. We will understand this far better in Heaven. But "far better" will only be a small measure of the full extent of how God so loves to give and forgive, and of how far He was willing to go to make such exceeding, abundantly above grace possible.
We do well to sometimes think of such things when pondering our prayers, and far more importantly, our Father's answers. He could never begin to tell us all He does in response to the simplest request. We could never begin to comprehend. Knowing this will help us in our praying, and in our confidence regarding the Lord's response. Most of all, knowing this will grace our hearts with the wonder, gratitude, and love that must surely accompany every remembrance of our God's glorious heart of generosity, and of the price He paid to make its bestowals possible. The hymnwriter penned it so beautifully, and we close with her exultant expression of amazement and wonder…
"Out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again."
(Annie Johnson Flint, "He Giveth More Grace").
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Weekly Memory Verse
To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
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