Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wow...I didn't expect that one

How extravagant has God's love been toward you? Almost all of us would immediately announce that it has been very extravagant, but if I were to ask you to list fifty ways his love has been extravagant, you'd probably find it gets harder and harder to describe his extravagance the lower we get down that list. God's extravagance is often 'felt' - something we don't oftentimes put into words. Yet, if we were honest here, his extravagance is actually what produces our sense of 'well-being' and 'peacefulness' within. It is what causes us to jump for joy, brings comfort to the depths of our soul when we have experienced moments of grief, and encouraged us with tender nudges when we have been too focused on something to notice we have not moved in a while. It is his extravagance that fills us, but did you ever stop to consider it is his equally his extravagant love that empties us?

God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left.  (Lamentations 3:22-24)

As you might imagine, my inventory of being able to express all the ways his extravagance has been evident in my life fell far short of what he has lavished upon me in my lifetime - even in those days when I felt the darkest, his love was still quite extravagant in my life! If we begin to really consider his extravagance, we begin to recognize mercies in our life that have been extended repeatedly without any real change in our actions! Now that is indeed extravagance on his part, for who really loves when there is no evidence of change? Most of us would struggle with repeatedly lavishing love on an individual who constantly resists necessary change - we might even get a little frustrated with them. Yet, God continues to lavish his love in all the extravagant ways he does - in spite of our 'foot dragging' and 'whining'.

God's mercies are "unrestrained" - that is just another word for extravagant! They extend the bounds of reason - yours and mine! There is no end to his mercies - what we deserve or what would be considered to be "reasonable" in our estimation - he goes way beyond all of that each and every time! Thank goodness he does! If God gave up on us the first couple of times we returned to old habits, or reverted back to old patterns he had convicted of us many times before, we'd be a total mess! The extravagance of God - it really points to the fact that God's love just doesn't dry up or give up - it is like a spring flowing forth - it has a source not fully seen, but its refreshment is fully enjoyed as often as we take time to notice it. His merciful touches are a constant source of refreshment to our souls. He uplifts us time and time again - not because he has to - but because he loves to!

The greatest hope we have is to found right at his feet. There is no greater opportunity to experience the extravagance of our God than when we fall at his feet in humble admission of our sin and penitent surrender of our will to the leading of his. The thing that moves God's heart like no other is really the yielded will of one who wants to learn of his extravagance first-hand. Into that hungry and hurting life he lavishes his unfailing mercies - new every morning and there for the taking. It is not quite dawn yet as I am typing these words - the sky is still black with the light glow from the ebbing moon. I will take for granted today that the sun will rise as it always has - coming gradually over the Eastern horizon, settling high into the sky by midday, and then dropping gracefully behind the mountains on the West without my even noticing the awesomeness of the movement of the sun. That is kind of how we treat God sometimes - just taking for granted that he will always be there, is passing through our lives moment by moment, all the while without us being cognizant of the fact that in his passing he has once again and quite faithfully extended his mercies.

When we truly begin to see the extravagance of our God, we look for ways to begin to express that extravagance in our lives. That desire to display his extravagant love delights the heart of God. Reflecting his extravagance is just one way we become light in the dark, a guide to the blind, and a haven of compassion to the hurting. Isn't it time that we begin to truly "experience" the extravagance of our God? In the passing of time, his mercies are there, new every morning - learn to recognize them well and reflect them faithfully! Let us learn to seriously acknowledge and frequently consider his extravagance in our lives. Just sayin!

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