Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this:
You’re at your favorite restaurant. Your closest friends and family members are gathered around the table. There is a great feast in front of you! It’s more food than you could possibly eat, plus a three-layer chocolate cake for dessert!
Let’s imagine something else. You’re on a secluded beach--by yourself. It’s just you, a beach chair, the sun, and the waves. Oh--and a butler who will bring you anything you want.
One last thing--this one is up to you. I want you to imagine your “happy place.” If you could go anywhere and do anything, what would make you the happiest? (Pause for a moment to allow for deep thinking.)
You can open your eyes now. All of those places you were thinking about have a few things in common. There were no worries, no chores to do or laundry to fold or kids to pick up from school. Everything was provided--abundantly! Everything was taken care of--perfectly!
How many of you have actually visited a “happy place”? Maybe it was a Disney park or your dream vacation spot. Do you remember how long that place stayed perfectly worry-free? Probably not for long.
This perfect life where everything is provided and everything is taken care of exists only in our imagination. Well, it did exist in the Garden of Eden, a literal Paradise, but we know how that went. Sin entered the world and carefree abundance walked out. Adam and Eve were left with the promise of “thorns” and “thistles” and a whole lot of trouble (Genesis 3:18). They didn’t even have enough clothes!
Women throughout the Bible wished for, prayed for, sometimes lied and stole for abundance. Rebekah couldn’t have children, but the Lord gave her twins. The problem was that the two were fighting before they even left the womb! The blessing on her family was marked by deceit. Hannah was barren, too. Others even mocked her inadequacy. When God answered her prayers and gave her a son, she had to give him back to the Lord in service, as she had promised. What grief must have come to her from something that seemed like a godly promise of abundance.
Abundance is elusive. For us, things may look a bit different than biblical times, but the end result is still the same--disappointment. Financial abundance to finally move into your own home? Forget it--your car broke down. Extra time to take a vacation to visit Grandma? Nope--you’re slammed at work. Growing your family--the doctors say it’s not possible. Bountiful joy like everyone else seems to have? Not when you have a family history of depression and anxiety.
Have you ever thought that maybe abundance is right here, right now, but we are just looking in the wrong places? that every day we are living that perfect life where everything is provided and everything is taken care of? You won’t find abundance in your bank account, or on a pregnancy test, or in a bubbly personality. You’ll find it here:
Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:2 KJV).
Grace. Abundant grace! Peace. Abundant peace! It is ours--all ours--though Jesus!
When Adam and Eve shattered the picture of abundance in the Garden, when Rebekah chose deceit, when Hannah had to leave her only child, God’s grace was there. In love, God has been covering us with his grace since the beginning of time. Even though we didn’t deserve it, even though we couldn’t earn even a ration of forgiveness on our own, God sent us a Savior. Jesus followed God’s law perfectly, teaching grace and mercy everywhere he went. Then, he humbled himself to die on the cross, taking the punishment that was owed to us. Jesus battled sin on Calvary’s mountain, and the third day, he rose victorious. He secured eternal grace and peace for us!
Abundance, peace, perfection, our “happy place”? We find it in our Savior, Jesus. His forgiveness is our peace, his sacrifice our perfection. Every day overflows with the grace of God. God’s grace worked through Adam and Eve, Rebekah and Hannah--it brought us our Savior! And, it’s working through us, too.
Don’t get caught up in a culture that tells you to look to your possessions to find abundance. Find it in your faith! When situations have you worrying, cast your cares on your Friend, Jesus. When you are unsure about the future, cling to abundant hope and trust in the One who never changes (Hebrews 13:8). You see, abundance isn’t about having “enough”--enough money, enough social status, enough time. It’s about listening to your faith that tells you, “God’s grace, given to me through Jesus, will always be enough.”
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from the Ministry Message that accompanies one of CTA’s new women’s ministry themes, Abundant Grace. This theme is brand new for 2019 and in it, you’ll find a variety of resources for your women’s ministry program. Don’t miss the downloadable retreat--it will help you plan your next women’s get-together in a snap!
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2019 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.