With shining eyes, my neighbor made that announcement one morning at our ladies prayer group we are both a part of. After years of believing God was harsh and stingy, she had changed her mind. Now she was experiencing what the Bible had been speaking all along. She shared verses that were encouraging her.
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3 (ESV)
Since our group meets to pray for our adult children, that verse was particularly encouraging to all of us!
“… and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5 (ESV)
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace.” Zechariah 12:10a (ESV)
No dribbling. More like gushing.
And when I thought back through the Bible, I couldn’t see any dribbling or stinginess either—physically or spiritually.
Adam and Eve: a lush garden home in a breathtaking world; Abraham: blessings and descendants as the star-filled sky; Joseph: slavery and prison to the authority of Pharaoh; Israelites: a land and a life flowing with milk and honey; David: lowly shepherd to powerful king; Solomon: wisdom and worldly goods beyond measure; Jesus Christ: gave up His life for us.
Nothing stingy about that.
I could also see God’s bountiful goodness and protection in my own life. Judging from my family background, I should have a string of husbands by now and a kid from each one. And I should either spend all my time at a bar or own one. Or be in prison or dead from a drug overdose.
And yet, here I sit on a Saturday evening, hoping and praying my one and only husband of 38 years, who I adore and who adores me back, makes it home safely in the rain. Pizza and a movie just isn’t the same without him!
But I can’t take credit for all the sweetness and love I’ve experienced. I was well on my way to becoming the next screaming shrew in our family. No exaggeration. I was so angry the day before my wedding, Rand barely had time to slow the car down before I jumped out and walked off down the street because I wasn’t getting my way. Yet, he still showed up to marry me.
Grace was literally poured out to me by a patient God and a patient husband as I stumbled around trying to learn how to control my temper and the need to control others. The fact that I still have a marriage, is a miracle all by itself. But a precious one? That is straight-up God’s goodness. He did it just because He can.
All the pain and poverty and madness in the world, can’t erase or compare or compete with all the goodness He wants to pour out on us every day—lavishly.
If we don’t get in our own way.
Yes, we may experience horrendous physical circumstances in our lives, just as the persecuted believers did in Hebrews 11. They weren’t excluded from the affects of living in (and contributing to) a sinful world. And neither are we. But we are also told in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (ESV)
I submit that focusing on God’s spiritual goodness to us, first and foremost, despite physical circumstances, is the foundation of overcoming evil with good. Refusing not to see Him. Climbing a tree if we have to! (Luke 19:1-4) Jumping up and down in the crowded, and often crushing, arena of life, determined to see and experience His grand performance of goodness and glory for ourselves.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight.” Ephesians 1:7-8 (ESV)
I don’t think you can get more generous than that.
When we look out of the wrong end of the binoculars, God is a small, stingy, punitive god. But out of the right end, God takes on His rightful size and character. He lives to give. Dribbling is a strategic deception we fall for.
God’s Word graciously dispels the myth.
My friend and neighbor was done being fooled. She said she was going to focus on God’s goodness this year. She was going to watch for it in Scripture and notice it in life. And true to God’s goodness, she’ll both witness and participate in it more and more every day. I just hope she has all her pots ready!
And that is the good word for today. ❤