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Does God owe us anything?

 

Entitlement.001When I started reading the Bible for the first time, there were parts of it that I liked best because they made me feel good. And then there were the excruciatingly boring parts (Leviticus and Numbers, anyone?). And then there were the parts that really struck the heart of the matter and I end up wasak (I could’ve used the term “broken” but it won’t have the same impact).

One of my favorite verses goes like this

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

–Romans 8:32 (NIV)

I’m not sure if it’s just my selfish nature, but the first time I read this, my eyes zeroed in on a particular phrase:

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

And I thought, “Awesome! I have a mighty and powerful God willing to pander to my needs.” (As if HIS world revolved around me, but aren’t we thinking or acting that way more times than we’d like to admit?)

At first, it seemed that He was spoiling me indeed. I would pray for something and then I’d get it. I felt entitled, just because I thought I understood God’s love and generosity. But a few months after that, nothing seemed to go my way any longer and I’d question God, “I thought You said You’ll give me all things? Why didn’t You answer my prayer?” That line of thought led me to become ungrateful. It eventually escalated to bitterness when it seemed He no longer cared for me. And then I could no longer trust God fully, so that I could not give freely to others–of my money, of my time, of my love.

But God, in His goodness, did not allow me to wallow in my self-pity and entitlement. Instead, He gently led me back to the verse I was holding on to and redirected my focus. This time I was drawn to a different phrase:

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

My selfish nature was exposed. My heart was convicted. My mind was washed with the truth.

And the truth is, HE IS THE EPITOME OF GENEROSITY. Never in our most generous moment would we think of sacrificing our child for anyone… not even for anyone like Mother Teresa. And yet God, in His unfathomable love, sacrificed His ONLY Son for a people who continually reject Him, who spit in His face, who wilfully rebel against Him. And in the light of that kind of love and generosity, who can ask for more? And yet, He does give more–more than I could ask for or imagine. And if I’m honest with myself, I could mostly understand why He would not give me something I asked at a particular time. And when I don’t understand, at least I could trust His love and His perfect knowledge–that He has a reason for His timing and that His will is always good, always pleasing, always perfect.

I may not have everything I want, but He has never left me nor forsaken me.  I have never been in want. And that is so so much more than enough reason to freely give of myself and of what I have.

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