I don’t know if I could name 1,000 things to be thankful for, like author Ann Voscamp did, but I do have a lot of things, big and small, to thank God for this year. A new job doing meaningful work. Deep friendship. Two adorable and adoring cats. Warm fall days. A visit from my son. God’s care and protection when my tire went flat (three weeks ago) and my muffler fell off (last week). The new-to-me car He provided after these incidents took place. The friends who helped me shop for that car. The favorite earring I’d lost months ago—and then found under the car seat 20 minutes before the tow truck came to take my clunker to the auction yesterday. How many blessings is that? Ten? I could go on a lot longer.
But yesterday morning, when I was meditating in Ephesians 1 (as I’ve been doing for nearly two weeks now) God led me to start noticing a different kind of blessing—spiritual blessings. Soul food. Notice the powerful verbs in verses 3-8:
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
God chose me! I was on His wish-list since before time began. He waited millennia for me!
He decided—He was intentional, it was no accident or obligation—to adopt me into His own family. I’m no accident or surprise—He hand-picked me to be His daughter!
This is what He wanted to do! He wanted to choose me, adopt me, bring me into His family!
It gave Him great pleasure! God doesn’t just put up with me. He doesn’t just love me because He’s God and that’s what God does—It gives Him pleasure. Joy. Makes Him smile.
He’s poured out grace on me. Not just drip-drops, but soaking-wet grace.
He purchased my freedom. I’m valuable enough to pay for—with His Son’s blood. I’m worth the trouble, worth the pain, worth the cost. He wants me and loves me that much!
He showered His kindness on me—along with all wisdom and understanding! Cloudbursts of kindness, waves of wisdom, downpours of understanding.
He blessed me and united me with Christ. Joined with His dear Son! I’m one with Him. Inseparable, nothing and no one can snatch me from Him. I belong to Him, He belongs to me.
How is it that such a familiar passage—one I’d read scores of times, studied, and even memorized—could be so fresh and alive? I guess that’s another spiritual blessing—the mysterious, powerful, tender companionship of the Holy Spirit.
Tomorrow I’ll be eating turkey and pie, like most Americans. I expect I will push away from the table feeling very satisfied. And, as I continue to count my spiritual blessings, I am quite sure that my soul will also be satisfied. As the psalmist said, “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods” (63:5).