When I was a young woman I loved to be at my grandma’s house sitting at her kitchen table. She was the most loving and wisest woman I have ever known. I’m grateful for all the time we spent together. We met when I was 20 years old. It didn’t take her long to hold my face in her hands, look me directly in the eyes, and tell me that she loved me and that Jesus loved me too! Words she waited 20 long years to say. That was my first introduction to her and to God.
One day while I was sitting at her kitchen table waiting for a pot of coffee, she was preparing for us, I told her about my decision to get baptized. She had encouraged me to go to church and when I did, something profound started to happen.
I explained, “Every time we sang worship songs my heart felt like it was expanding. I began to notice God’s presence at church, then outside of church. It became apparent to me that God was pursuing me and I was pursuing him. I was falling in love with Jesus and I wanted to make a commitment to acknowledge my relationship with Him, so I decided to get baptized.”
My grandma poured us a cup of coffee and joined me at the kitchen table.
She said, “You are beginning a journey where you will discover the greatest love ever known and the hardest part will be learning to receive it.”
She dropped a pearl of wisdom in my lap that day and I’ve had it ever since.
I can confirm that my journey has been all about learning to receive God’s immense love for me. The greatest moments of discovering His love, has come in the afterglow of hardships and terrible circumstances. God’s comfort in the middle of trials has consistently sustained me, but it’s in the afterglow where I understand the big picture and how He uses the turbulence to stretch my heart, increase my faith, give me hope and a purpose. Contrary to what the expectations of the world, all of this increase means I am living an abundant life with Jesus. For a Christian, the abundant life means we are filled to overflowing with love, 1 Thess 3:12. It means we have a meaningful purpose in life, John 14:6. We are matured to fight spiritual battles, Eph 4:18. It means we learn to trust in Jesus’ plan for salvation instead of our own self-sufficiency, Eph 2:4-10. It truly means learning to absorb the greatest love known.
John 14 is an area of scripture where I can see an example of this kind of abundance poured over the disciples after the last supper, in the upper room. When I consider the emotional temperature in that room I can barely keep my eyes from weeping. Jesus had announced his departure and excused Judas from the room, sending him finalized the betrayal. Imagine you are one of the 11 left in the room. You have followed Jesus and seen the dichotomy of love and hatred towards Him. You have been in the presence of His everlasting love and seen it heal the multitudes and offend the self-righteous. Jesus is telling you he is leaving. You juggle with the idea of not seeing Jesus again and having all that hatred turned towards you in His absence. The One whom you have counted on, invested in, learned from, and followed with your whole heart is about to disappear.
In John 14, Jesus comforts their troubled hearts. He already knows their fears, their pain, and their confusion. They are certainly in the middle of a trial. During this tribulation He stretches their hearts to receive even more of His love, increases their faith, gives them hope and a purpose. This is a beautiful example of the abundance that comes from turmoil in a Christian’s life. Jesus comfort and soothes each disciple, including you and I. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, John 14:6. We are filled with purpose, John 14:12. He will not leave us as orphans, John 14:18. He is with us, John 14:19.
Do you see the abundance? Are you living the abundant life? Do you need to be confronted with the abundance Jesus is holding for you in his hand? Be encouraged on your journey. Place yourself in the upper room and be comforted by Jesus who knows you, your pain and your fear. Don’t let your heart be troubled, but lean in and discover the greatest love ever known. Live the abundant life.
Sheri Page has been married to her husband for 10 years and cherishes their blended family of 6 adult children and 9 grandchildren. She has worked in and alongside ministries for over 30 years. She has served many roles with in the walls of a church including, a Women’s Ministry director and assistant to a Care Pastor where she served people who were walking through Baptism, Celebrate Recovery, Divorce Care and benevolence. Sheri loves to share her curiosity and unique understanding of life with Jesus by her side. She is a 5 year breast cancer survivor and considers that experience to be the one of the greatest gifts God has given her. More writings from Sheri can be found on her blog: https://thelordsdwellingplace.com/