It is difficult to remember just how much we have been given.

It would have been enough if God had given us three square meals and a map for the journey. It would have been enough to have the promise of heaven. It would have been enough to have just a little air to breathe, like an emergency oxygen mask.

But instead, abundance was always God’s design. He gave us songs and ocean waves lapping on the beach. He fed 5,000 and ensured there were 12 basketfuls left over. With a word, he helped some fishermen who had caught nothing all night and provided a haul so heavy it broke their nets (Luke 5:1–11).

God’s abundance calls us to gratitude. But in the lean moments, when our world feels like the wilderness, when we wander in the weeds of discontentment and complain about what we lack, God’s love can seem limited to the essentials. We can feel trapped in a famine of faith.

If you have walked through a long-suffering season or are in one right now, hold on. The Shepherd will call you back into his satisfying presence and will set out a table for a feast (Ps. 23:1, 5). When your voice echoes in the silo where your faith was once stored, keep looking for God’s provision.

Though our awareness of God’s supply may come at intervals, his generosity toward us is steady. Grace is given in measure to his riches, not to our fluctuating feelings of gratitude or our view of current circumstances. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

It is only human to want more. God made our hearts for abundance. We desire to know more of the goodness of God personally and particularly. But we also stray, chasing after substitutes. This is why advertising is so effective: It offers us counterfeit versions of what God created us to crave, keeping us busy and distracted.

Grace does not always come in the way or the timing we expect. But its arrival is always lavish. We may have to look for evidence to remind ourselves of this fact when God’s providence does not meet our expectations. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).

God, however, does not only want us to feel satisfied that he supplies all our needs. He wants us to share.

It would have been enough for Jesus to just deliver us from our sins. He could have saved our souls but left us in an impoverished existence. We take for granted how potent, how vivid, salvation really is: Jesus sent his Spirit to animate all people toward a generous life, no matter their situation. In Jesus’ parable of two sons, a father throws a party for a son who squandered his inheritance (Luke 15). God the Father receives all his rebellious sons and daughters with welcome.

God, the host of another party in Luke 14:15–23, earnestly reminds us that he wants his house full. He pours his extravagance upon us and wants it to overflow to others. “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thess. 2:8).

Salvation is personal, but not private. God sees and seeks after the ones the rest of us have overlooked—to the ends of the earth. He lifts the poor, shelters the vulnerable, and calls us to be like him in this. After meeting their great need, Jesus called his friends on the beach to leave their overflowing nets and follow him, to be conduits of his overflowing mercy.

It can be easy to remember our losses, to forget the grace. Yet it is in Christ’s nature to remember both. He set down his riches to take on our poverty. He put himself aside, that we would remember and be remembered.

We are made to give generously and to give thanks. So we lay down the nets—our sorrows and whatever we have held—to take up the thing that cannot be lost. It would have been enough just to save our souls—but God also offers us so much more. He calls us to contentment and gives us songs and ocean air and breakfast on the beach (John 21). He who was rich became poor, so that we could have all this.

Sandra McCracken is a singer-songwriter and author in Nashville. She is also the host of The Slow Work podcast produced by CT.

[ This article is also available in español 简体中文, and 繁體中文. ]

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Pending Resolution
Pending Resolution is an exploration of the tensions of living between God's promises offered and his promises fulfilled, looking to Scripture for guidance.
Sandra McCracken
Sandra McCracken is a singer-songwriter who lives in Nashville. She also hosts the CT podcast Slow Work and the new video-based Bible study Exploring the Psalms. Follow her on Twitter @Sandramccracken.
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