Friday, April 01, 2011
An Abundance of Blessings
For the last couple of months, I have been reading this book by Ann Voskamp. Other than the Bible, to date, this book has changed my life more than any other and I know I have only scratched the surface of what God is teaching me through it. I originally bought the Kindle edition and read the majority of it on my computer, but decided I had to get my hands on it so that I could write all in it, all over it, taking notes and just drinking it in better. I finally ordered the book and finished the last two chapters and now I am starting over. There is so much in this book that grips me and makes me really think on what God has done and who He is. The first chapter deals with some really raw events in the author's life and though they are very hard to read, I am thankful that she shared them. A book about joy would be empty without the realness of everyday pain. In the first chapter titled, an emptier, fuller life, Ann really gets to the heart of our discontent: ingratitude. She says this:
"From all of our beginnings, we keep reliving the Garden story.
Satan, he wanted more. More power, more glory. Ultimately, in his esssence, Satan is an ingrate. And he sinks his venom into the heart of Eden. Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave.
Isn't that the catalyst of all my sins?
Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied with God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.
Standing before that tree, laden with fruit withheld, we listen to Evil's murmur, "In the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened..." (Genesis 3:5 NASB). But in the beginning, our eyes were already open. Our sight was perfect. Our vision let us see a world spilling with goodness. Our eyes fell on nothing but the glory of God. We saw God as He truly is: good. but we were lured by the deception that there was more to see. And, true, there was more to see: the ugliness we hadn't beheld, the sinfulness we hadn't witnessed, the loss we hadn't known.
We eat. And, in an instant, we are blind. No longer do we see God as one we can trust. No longer do we percieve Him as wholly good. No longer do we observe all of the remaining paradise.
We eat. And, in an instant, we see. Everywhere we look we see a world of lack, a universe of loss, a cosmos of scarcity and injustice.
We are hungry. We eat. We are filled... and emptied.
And still, we look at the fruit and see only the materials means to fill our emptiness. We don't see the material world for what it is meant to be: as the means to communion with God."
There is so much in that little section. And it describes me. Constantly I am grumbling and complaining because things are not going my way, because life is hard and I stumble and fall and fail daily. And in my head I say, "God, you know how hard this is for me..." and what I am saying is, "If you really loves me, You would make it easier." But I know that easy is not what is best for me, but easy is not what makes me change. And it is God's grace alone that allows me to fail and get back up and try again. And it is my failures that bring me to my knees before a holy God and remind me that there is nothing in and of myself that can do anything; IT'S ALL HIM.