The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(Thanks to JB for inspiration on this one. And to Frances for the reminder).
"Better Than I Deserve!"
"I Get To!"
A dear friend of mine and I share a particular Biblical perspective, but in different terms.
If I ask Jay how he is doing, he invariably answers, "Better than I deserve!" (in fact, when he calls me, I sometimes greet him with, "Better than you deserve!).
This correlates with an axiom of mine: "When 'I have to' becomes 'I get to,' everything changes in our attitude and perspective."
You see the connection. Everything we receive from God that is not His justifiable condemnation blesses us as an undeserved gift of grace made possible by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (I Corinthians 2:12). Blood stains our next breath and all others to follow, as it were, graciously provided because our Savior redeemed us from "the wrath to come" by suffering the wrath that came upon Him on the cross of Calvary (I Thessalonians 1:10). "Better than I deserve" thus characterizes every moment of this life, and every glory we will ever know in our Christ-glorifying eternity to come.
"I get to" as the replacement for "I have to" serves as an appropriate companion for Jay's adage. When the realization of privilege replaces responsibility as our primary perspective, things change in how we experience the realities of life. Regardless of what endeavor may lie before us, "Better than I deserve" will result in "I get to" if we remember the grace we have received and the grace that awaits us as our Lord leads and enables us along the paths of life.
The apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ beautifully illustrate this perspective of truth and faith.
"And when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:40-42).
"Better than I deserve" and "I get to" clearly characterized the hearts of Peter, James, John, and the other apostles. They well knew how freely God had forgiven and given through the Lord Jesus. They also knew that all of life, be it blessing or buffeting, can be known in peace, joy, and assurance when known in terms of God's purpose and presence. "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord" (Colossians 3:23).
What if "Better than I deserve" and "I get to" serves as the reality of everything we will ever experience? What if such truth means that even our sufferings, like those of the apostles, can be known in rejoicing rather than overwhelming dread and sorrow? What if the Lord Jesus so saturates our existence that if we will open our eyes to His living and dynamic involvement, we will find His grace where it might seem to least likely await us? What if all of life comes to us as a gift, even those things that greatly challenge and hurt us?
These possibilities are not "What ifs." They rather constitute truth and reality. Our experience of such grace flows upon the current of seeing all things in the light of Calvary, where our blessed Savior purchased for us every blessing God will ever bestow upon us. Perhaps today's prospects tempt us to a sense of dread or drudgery. "Better than I deserve" and "I get to" will go far to change our perspective, anticipation, and experience of whatever the day holds. Even more, the Bible's continual affirmation of God's presence in our hearts, purpose along our pathways, and power for the journey will deliver us from dread and drudgery unto peace and joy. Yes, better than I deserve!… I get to!
"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Weekly Memory Verse
He is thy life.