Earlier this year, my wife and I journeyed to Montana to check another item off our bucket list: hike in Glacier National Park. Several of the hikes ventured to spectacular waterfalls. Standing near them, basking in their striking beauty and awesome power, I was refreshed by mist and occasional drops of water. It occurred to me that the fine mist and drops from the waterfall were enjoyable, but if I were to enter into the full scope of the waterfall, it would overwhelm me, probably to the point where it would be fatal.
I think that’s how it is with God’s grace and mercy.
One thing I thank God for almost daily is that I am floating in an ocean of his grace and awash in rivers of his grace. That is the cumulative effect of walking with God for over 40 years. But how has he shared that grace and mercy with me? Daily. One grace-drop at a time. Otherwise, if he were to cover me with a lifetime of mercy and grace at one time, that would overwhelm me.
Some days I can barely grapple with the grace he has shown me that day–that no matter how rotten my thoughts or deeds were, he welcomes me back when I come crawling to him, begging yet again for forgiveness.
There are several great pictures of God giving us what we need in small doses, day by day. Jesus taught us to ask for our bread–our sustenance–not for a lifetime, not annually, monthly, or even weekly. Daily. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
When the Israelites were wandering through the desert for 40 years (due mainly to their own brokenness), God provided manna for them to survive on. How often did he give this to them? Daily (with the exception of the Sabbath).
There’s also this beautiful passage in the middle of Lamentations, which generally is not a happy book (in case you can’t tell from the title!):
There it is again: God’s compassions are new every morning.
Why is it that the Bible emphasizes relating with God within the confines of 24-hour increments?
I don’t know all the reasons why, but at least one that I can think of is this: because he wants a relationship with us.
Anyone who believes that God is distant–maybe a deity who created the universe but then left it alone to ultimately crash and burn–has not read the New Testament. They have not watched Jesus in action. They have missed the fact that everything Jesus achieved in his 3-year earthly ministry–and has continued to achieve to this day–was done through relationship. This is the Son of God showing us God’s heart for us.
In addition to his love for us, I think there’s another reason why God wants to be in relationship with us: to keep us close to him.
God knows us because he made us. He knows our human nature. When we feel like we are all set, that we have what we need, we have a tendency to forget about God. Our human nature, probably with assistance from the evil one guides us down the path of believing that we did this, that we achieved this sufficiency all on our own.
He does not want us to think like that, because the slope is a slippery one, and it leads straight to bad places. It leads to separation from God, which is the definition of hell.
On the other hand, if he gives us our blessings daily, we are more likely to remember that he is the source of those blessings. We are more likely to express gratitude to the Giver of those blessings.
This is not because he is on some kind of power trip. It’s because he wants to relate with us daily. He wants us to talk to him like we would a friend. He wants us to share with him what’s troubling us so he can carry those burdens for us, or at least with us. He wants us to thank him for our blessings so he can celebrate them with us.
How could it be any better than the Creator of the universe wanting to walk with us through our daily lives like a best friend, sprinkling grace-drops on us as we go?