The Myth of Abundance {or The Gift of Suffering}

Suffering?

A gift?

Are you sure?

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No, I’m not, but I am learning to see beyond the inconvenience of pain.  God never promised us that our days on this side of heaven would pass in Edenic bliss.  He did not promise that we would never experience heartache or doubt.

He did promise however, that He would be there for every experience of our lives.  He promised us abundant life, one that we get to, if we choose, live to the very edges of our days.  It’s a life that is full of the goodness of Him in every situation, every joy and triumph and every tear and hurt.

Abundance is not a broad brush of good fortune that fills our days with all manner of happy and joyful bliss.  Abundance can also be found on the calloused knees of the weary mother who hit’s the floor daily because it’s the only way.

Abundance is found at the bedside, in the soft grip of a loved one that is slowly, painfully passing from this life to next. It is found in the empty arms that long to filled with life.

Abundance is found in the hard work of reconciling, in the opening up of wounds to let others touch the edges of red and jagged pain.  Abundance is found in the tears that fall after the anger tore holes in soul and those holes become the window to forgiveness.

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Abundance can not be conjured or idealized.  It simply is.  By our very existence as creatures in Christ our abundance flows freely from His opened flesh, His broken body and by the power of his resurrection we have been given the gift of  abundance to cling to every single day.

What if instead of hiding, we part the veil of our pain so that we  can catch a glimpse of the holy wonder of God in our lives?  What if our tears become portals to the unexpected.  What if they were a gift?

All that pain – all of that heartache can be the compass our hearts need to keep us clinging to God and the grace of the cross.

“That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond.  To Him. To the God whom we endless crave” – Ann Voskamp


15 Comments

  1. This idea that abundance is only that which is welcome is such a challenge to me. God has been teaching me to be content in the abundance He has given me, especially when it doesn’t look like what I thought it would…or should!

  2. Most grateful for God getting us through our time of waiting with our adoption!

  3. “What if instead of hiding, we part the veil of our pain so that we can catch a glimpse of the holy wonder of God in our lives?” Hiding is so much easier, but in doing so, we miss out. I love your thoughts on abundance…my mantra this year has been to “worship always”, in the good and the bad. I’m not always great at this, but I’m trying.

    • It’s hard – isn’t it. To workshop always… and I’m not always so great at it either… thanking Jesus for grace.

  4. “All that pain – all of that heartache can be the compass our hearts need to keep us clinging to God and the grace of the cross” <— This is a quote I need to post on my mirror and remind myself of it daily. So many times I let the pain and heartache send me into a pity party of one. Instead I need to the One.

    • Don’t we all friend… don’t we all. And I think I preach these lessons to myself the loudest!!! Love that we are cross-clinging, grace filled sisters together.

  5. Deb Cote

    Pain in community…the kind that makes you stand proud to fight, and then retreat into the safety of your barb wired heart…only to find God takes you by the hand safely and brings you back in. It’s hard, but God refuses to let me stay hidden in isolation, but gently whispers, “it’s okay, I’m there with you”.

    • He really is Deb… A friend of mine once told me that I shouldn’t be waiting for God, I should be waiting with God… that stuck with me. Waiting for Him implies that I don’t think he’s already there… the other – it’s the assurance that he has never left me.

  6. I love this… and you… (and Ann, of course!) I am not entering the contest today because – well, because I have bought several copies of this book and so far, I’ve been able to keep the last one! 😉 Counting gifts right beside you, my friend! #1000gifts

  7. This abundant life, this is the verse that most resonates with me in this season and every time I turn around it is right there. I agree for me abundant life doesn’t equal easy, but a freedom and a joy that no one can ever take away!

  8. This brought tears to my eyes! “Abundance is found at the bedside, in the soft grip of a loved one that is slowly, painfully passing from this life to next.” I experienced this in January and didn’t look on it as abundance at the time. But I see that God’s abundance is in each moment, each experience if we only let it in. I know we are worried about the pain, loss and suffering that accompanies God’s grace but it is so worth it! Thank you for your sweet words! Ann Voskamp is my hero and counting blessings gets me through each day!

    • Oh Mary… reaching over right now and holding your hand. Leaning into the cross with your sweet friend. Standing shoulder to shoulder and counting right along side you.

  9. Leaving a job that was a walking death sentence for me and then walking into my desert journey is probably the hardest blessing I’m grateful for. I didn’t see it in the beginning, but there was so much in that time that the Lord used to shape my life and move me closer to him. Of course, it was in that time that I discovered Ann, her book, (in)courage, and this community too, so another set of blessings to count!

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