We want more. Expect more. Strive for more.
And yet, sometimes in the quietness of our hearts we come to realize that often less is more. Less rat race, more contented joy; less worry, more peace; less obsessive control, more peaceful surrender. One thing that highlights this experience of contentment is listening to our heart express gratitude for what we have now – a loving family, a close friend, sufficient food and shelter, a job to pay the bills, a loving God who sees us where we are and comforts and strengthens us. Being thankful is an effective antidote to wanting more.
My sister shared her experience attending a Seder Dinner, celebrating the Jewish Passover. Part of this dinner included the Passover song Dayenu which celebrates the goodness and providence of God. The word “Dayenu” means “it would have been enough for us” or “it would have been sufficient.” The song recalls how God not only led his people out of Egyptian captivity but also vanquished their oppressors: ”It would have been sufficient to part the Red Sea, but you also crushed our enemy.” It goes on in thanksgiving for his guiding them in the desert, feeding them when they were hungry, and drawing them close to himself with an everlasting covenant. If God had only granted one of these miraculous gifts, it would have been enough. But he gave so much more.
I think about how God has exceedingly blessed my life well beyond my basic needs to shower me with his lavish and abundant love, even in the presence of this pervasive and aggressive cancer. How many things “would have been sufficient” and yet God blessed me with more. It would have been sufficient if God:
Forgave our sins with such undeserved mercy and left us to die in peace – and yet he gave us life everlasting.
Gave us “only” life everlasting – and yet gives us vibrant, abundant, powerful life right now.
Saved me alone – and yet blesses me with the fellowship of others.
We might have been born in a land of famine, begging for food, yet he invited us to a banquet dinner in a land of plenty.
We might be left to suffer alone in our troubles, yet he remains with us always; his strength and grace sustain us.
Paul was right. Our lives should be daily devoted – “To Him, who can do exceedingly and abundantly more than all we ask for or imagine, to Him be all honor and glory in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 3:18
God not only rescues us from the bondage of our oppressors, he vanquishes that which seeks to destroy us. He has split the “Red Sea” for us in providing a way out of temptation and sin. Even if this life sometimes seems like wandering in the wilderness, he provides for our daily needs, and so much more. He leads us to his holy mountain and gives us instructions that guide our lives with peace and strength and hope. It would have been sufficient if he did all this for us, but even more he gave us his very Spirit to live in us, to guide, convict and comfort us, and to teach us the way we should go when our decisions are difficult. And when our earthly lives are fully spent, he gives us more – a life forever with him and those who have gone before us. What a great reunion that will be!
It would have been sufficient to meet our daily needs – yet God provides for us the deepest desires of our hearts, to know him and enjoy his goodness forever.
May you be filled with the great and exceeding sufficiency that Jesus offers you today.