It’s been awhile since I’ve shared in our blog about something that I’ve been learning in my personal devotion time, so I thought I would share something along those lines now. On one morning this past month, I read Psalm 103 as part of my time with Jesus. Once more, it struck me as really sweet.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us. ”
Verses 11 and 12 remind me of a parent and child. The parent says, “How much do you love me?”
Stretching out his arms as wide as they can go, the kid exclaims, “This much!!”
Except in this case, it’s God who’s stretching out His arms… and those are some very big arms indeed! In His delight and love, He isn’t afraid of being undignified.
“How much do You love me?” I ask.
“This much,” He says as His arms get really tall.
“How much have You forgiven me?” I ask.
“This much!” He stretches His arms as far as the east is from the west.
I started thinking about the extravagance of God. Then I started thinking about Peter’s question in Matt. 18:21-22.
Peter asks Jesus, “How many times should I forgive? Seven times?”
Jesus replies, “Seventy times seven.”
490 times. That doesn’t seem so extravagant. I would have been more comfortable if Jesus had said, “One million times.” I’m sure I’ll sin against my husband Peter more than 490 times in our lifetime.
But then I realized something. Jesus combined His godly extravagance with His understanding of human frailty.
We tend to get overwhelmed easily with difficulty. We end up turning off and tuning out the impossible. Jesus took Peter’s number (the highest Peter was willing to go), and multiplied it by another number, 10x bigger. Though large, it was not so inconceivably large that Peter would shut down.
I have a feeling that if Peter’s original number had been 1,000,000 then Jesus would have said, “10,000,000 x 1,000,000 times.”
Because He’s like that. He’s patient with our limitedness. He knows our smallness, and He comes to meet and teach us where we are.
Searching for Special
We each instinctively feel that we are somehow special, somehow worthy of love in a way that is unique to us. We go about trying to prove this, by breathtaking achievement, by embracing quirkiness, by celebrating our differences in ways that scream for attention, recognition, appreciation.