We went out early to start harvesting the Nanking cherries. Loaded with tasty red berries, they will bring an abundant crop for making jelly. It will take a while to pick them all as the ones in the shade ripen more slowly than the ones in the sunlight.
Isn’t that the way it is with us? The more we are exposed to God’s light, the better we develop and mature; the more we mature, the more abundant our life becomes. Jesus says that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy but He has come to give us abundant life.
What is this abundant life? Is it one filled with the blessings of good health, riches, lots of friends, property, fame, and success? Sometimes, these do come to the faithful; we see plenty of examples of such temporary fruit bestowed upon the unfaithful too. As satirist Mark Twain observed: the rain falls on both the just and the unjust as does the sunshine. So where is the real abundant life found?
A Russian engineer discovered this one evening. Marci had been tutoring his wife, a physicist, in speaking English and we had been invited to their home. After supper we started talking about life in Russia and life in the USA. When I asked him about the church in Russia, he proudly announced that he was an atheist scientist and that he believed only in what he could see and touch. I told him how my relationship with Jesus had impacted my daily and eternal life. He responded, “There is one thing you Christians have that we atheists do not have; you have real hope.”
In a moment of light, he grasped the essence of truth without clinging to it himself. Real hope in God’s unending love and in the constant peace of His presence is the essence of abundant life.
“The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear (respect) Him and those whose hope is in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18 This is real hope, fortified by the awareness that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Our hope is in the God who calls us by name and who promises that he will be with us when we pass through the floods; that when we walk through the fire the flames will not destroy us. (Isaiah 43:1-2) This is the same God who promises peace that transcends all understanding and peace at ALL times. (Phil. 4:7, 2 Thess. 3:16)
This hope for the moment, day, life now and life eternal – this real hope is the center of abundant life, life lived to the full with purpose and passion. Aren’t you tired of the enemy stealing, killing, and destroying your joy and your hope? Rest in the abundant life Jesus promises today.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus in John 10:10