Outlandish

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5

Gifts deliver delight.

A fragrant bunch of peonies sent to your door, a favorite restaurant’s gift card placed in your hand, a well-crafted note chockfull of expressive words that arrived by mail – every single one a heart-filling, smile-bringing, joy-laden delight.

More than likely, the gracious giver spent time and resources to ensure they conveyed the message that you were worthy of the effort involved. Some gifts are packaged with costly sacrifice; those deliver a profound impact.

God is the supreme giver of the greatest good possible.

Tucked within a book usually associated with heavy theological debate is the incredible reminder of God’s wonderful gifts. As chapter five of Romans opens, we learn the life-altering truth that “we have peace with God.” How do we actually wrap our minds around that incredible concept? The God of heaven and earth, holy and supreme, has chosen to reconcile and restore the broken relationship severed between us.

Our journey into a distant country has ended, and we are safely back home in the arms of our loving Father. Discord and disagreement no longer wedge us apart. God went to extraordinary measures to make peace with us through “our Lord Jesus Christ” who spanned the chasm that separated us from God. Jesus is the divine door that swung wide open, granting us access to forgiveness, restoration, and intimacy with the Father.

If that were not enough, this same passage reveals the outlandish plan God put into effect to make certain we were fully aware of the enormous scope of his love. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).   Here we are – limited and powerless, running on empty most of the time, struggling with suffering, disappointments, and hardships that demand endurance. And here comes God. His perfect character wrapped up and saturated with love that he pours inside us through the indescribable gift of his Spirit.

Our words are jumbled letters next to such volume of love. The Holy Spirit is God’s provision to drench us, to fill us to the brim, and to overflow within. God’s love that is simultaneously purifying and powerful, packed with patience and kindness, compassion and grace, lodges inside as a divine resident housed in our fragile frame.

We open our heart to Jesus Christ, and the soul-saturating, heart-healing, divine infusion of perfect love is showered extravagantly on us by the person of the Holy Spirit.

Love delivered by sacrifice – this measureless, undeserved, unearned, desperately needed gift of grace!

Elizabeth Ann Mitchell

Photo Credit: Michele Henderson

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