Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Unmerited Favor

Unmerited Favor is one of those "church" terms that sounds fancy but I don't know that I've ever really, truly, understood it.
Extravagant Grace is the title of a book I own (great book, little short devotional chapters from a variety of authors) but I have to say that other than a book title, it's not a concept I've really grasped.
Limitless Love, Boundless Gifts, etc, etc, all terms that we have used or heard used to describe God's feeling towards us, but for me personally, not something I've really ever had a good picture of, not something that I've experienced and thought, "ah ha, THIS is what it means.."  I mean of course I understand that while I was yet a sinner Christ died for me, etc, but to really own it... not really.

Until recently.

Have you ever been the recipient of a gift that you did nothing to earn or deserve?  Not something you could do for yourself?   Not something you will ever be in a position to repay?   Probably the closest I've ever come to this is the unconditional love I have for my children, but even that... yes, it is beautiful and a wonderful picture of God's love for us, etc. but it almost seems like it's cheating... it's built in, it is automatic, almost as though I can't help but love my children that deeply.  I didn't chose it, it just IS.

What I'm talking about is different.  Being offered a gift so ... extravagant, for lack of better word, being offered love that is so undeserved that it almost makes me feel odd to accept it, but knowing that to not accept it would be so incredibly foolish.  To know that if I take this gift, I can never repay it, never give the other party anything like it in return.  To know that nothing I've done, no service I've offered or friendship extended makes me "worthy" or deserving.  It's just there.  Given freely, no bond of blood or maternity, and all I have to do is say yes. If I say no, it is gone,  I can't do this for myself. The only way to benefit from this is to put aside my idea of needing to earn it, deserve it, or pay it back in some fashion, and simply accept it.

It is a humbling, almost scary thing to consider.

I know, you want to know what this gift is.  But that is not the purpose here, you see, what for me is The Gift that Makes the Gospel  Real, may be for you utterly commonplace.  The point is that for me, this is my need, my one thing that I utterly lack the power to do on my own. And someone else is doing it for me, freely.

To accept a gift that comes with no strings, no expectations, no preconceived notions, no way of earning or deserving, no way to merit this, no way to give it back, knowing that any feeble attempts to earn or pay it back will be futile; this is a difficult thing.

And yet I do accept. I take this free-fall into accepting a gift of love that is so big that it is almost overwhelming.  And as I accept, I feel like I'm seeing one of the most clear pictures of God's grace that I've ever seen.  I feel like I need to sit down and process this.  It is causing me to really look at my relationship with God.  Do I accept his gift of salvation for what it truly is, or am I still in some feeble way fooling myself into thinking that I can serve him enough to pay it back?  Am I as humbled and overwhelmed by the truth of the Gospel as I am about this gift from my human friends?
Lord, search my heart, know me.  And Thank You for loving me enough to not only give me salvation but to give me friends who serve me both physically and spiritually.

I'm getting it.
The unimaginable, unmerited grace of the Gospel, made real and brought home.
I'm overwhelmed.


  1. *crying...a lot*

    Wow. So glad to be a part of blessing you!!!

  2. Amazing, isn't it?! Becoming a mommy really showed me this. With all control ripped from my grasping fingers, God waited until I surrendered, then gave me a gift greater than I could have ever imagined!


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