Every Tuesday is family date night. My little family of 5 picks a new restaurant at which to have dinner and talk about our day. Yesterday, instead of venturing to a new joint, we ended up at an old favorite. At the end of our meal, I treated myself to a mini sundae: a gooey mess of brownie chunks and chocolate syrup, capped with ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream, and finally topped with a cherry.
While I helped my husband shepherd our toddlers into the car, I kept thinking about how much I was looking forward to my sundae. And how, for such a small treat, it was nice of them to top it with a cherry – garnish usually reserved for the larger, full-size option.
As I relished my dessert it occurred to me that, for Christians, every day is a sundae. Not S-U-N-D-A-Y, but S-U-N-D-A-E.
Why? Because in spite of all the dark, sticky, complicated mess at the bottom of our souls/in our closets/in our pasts, God doesn’t withhold giving us good stuff. And then, by his favor, putting a cherry on top.
Not following me? Ok. How about this? Even though we probably deserved get an STD or worse for all of our fornication and – (clear throat) – playing the field, not only did He keep us safe and healthy, but as a cherry on top he actually sent us a husband or a wife.
Oh, wait, that’s not you? Alright, how about this? Instead of causing us to lose our job – which we should have – when we lost our minds and cussed out the boss, He enables us to retain our jobs and then, only because of His favor, we get promoted or a raise or a new job altogether.
Still not you? Ok. Maybe God’s been merciful enough to keep you from ruining your life or that of your family even though you’re still running to drugs or alcohol or food or sex every chance you get. But not only does He protect your family from your dirt, but He protects you – you’ve never been jumped at a buy, you’ve never been beaten or robbed.
Or maybe God gave you a vision years ago. But you’ve let fear stop you cold – you aren’t doing anything with it and on top of that, all of your friends, everyone around you, is branching out and doing their own thing. Instead of giving that dream to someone worthy, someone who’ll do something with it, not only does God continue to define it for you, He’s giving you time and space to decide to accept the more He’s offering you.
Or maybe it was that decision to drink or drive that should have ended up with you losing your life – or someone else losing theirs. But God…
Or maybe you can’t stop lying. You want to tell the truth, but you can’t. But God…
Maybe you have tapped out all of your sources, borrowed money from everyone and their child. You haven’t paid back a soul. And instead of them coming to beat you down or take you to court…But God…
Perhaps you can’t stop visiting illicit sites, or sending dirty texts and FB messages and emails. Your husband or wife or children don’t know yet; it would ruin your family…But God…
I need someone who recognizes that even though all manner of ungodliness can be found in our pasts, in our closets, and sometimes in our mouths and minds, when we repent, God continues to cover all our mess with the blood of Christ, with His grace, AND THEN blesses us on top of that.
He knows what complicated, messy, disgraceful stuff we have living in the inner most regions of our hearts and minds AND HE STILL keeps blessing us; and more than blessing us, He’s still pouring grace and mercy and favor all over us and our lives.
Maybe you’ve been perfect all your life, but I’m here to tell you that for all the mess I’ve chosen to entertain: I shoulda been dead. I shoulda been sick. I shoulda been unemployed. I shoulda been clinically depressed, mentally unstable. I shoulda been homeless. I shoulda been broke. My kids shoulda been… My husband shoulda been…
BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD BEING THE CHERRY ON TOP OF OUR LIVES.
Not only did He pull me up out of and through my mess, but by the blood of Christ, He covered it with all kinds of good stuff, and then chucked some favor on top just because that’s just how good He is.
I could go on and on, but I just keep coming back to the realization that not only does He bless us, keep us, protect us, strengthen us, love us, heal us, direct us, forgive us, correct us, grow us, enlarge our territory…not only does He do ALL of that, He then goes right behind all of that to do a little bit more. When we repent and ask for His forgiveness, He blesses us in spite of our messes, and then adds an extra measure of favor on top – like a cherry atop a decadently messy sundae.
I’ll tell you guys. I got so excited about this that I started reading the scriptures and found that consistently we are told that favor comes with something else.
Job 10:12 says that he grants us life AND FAVOR.
Psalm 5:12 says that He blesses the righteous AND SURROUNDS US WITH FAVOR.
Psalm 102:12 says that He will show us mercy AND FAVOR.
Proverbs 18:22 says the man who finds a wife finds a treasure AND FAVOR.
Proverbs 8:35 says that whoever finds Him finds live AND FAVOR.
Acts 7:10 says he was delivered out of all his troubles and GIVEN FAVOR.
Even Luke 2:52 says that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature AND FAVOR.
HOW. AWESOME. IS. THAT?!
Look back over the dirt, the mess, the skeletons, the missteps and mistakes in your life, and then think back on how, through the blood of Christ and your repentant heart, God covered it all with His good grace and mercy. And then on top of that, He heaped favor and love and forgiveness and blessing and promotion.
As we prepare to celebrate Good Friday and the Resurrection, let’s be grateful for the many times God’s resurrected us – our lives, our families, our dreams, our careers, our hopes – and then went a step further to pour out his love and grace and mercy on us just because He loves us THAT much.
Today is SUNDAE. Let’s walk in all the goodness God has heaped on our lives, and thank Him for loving and calling us in spite of our messy, broken lives.
God uses imperfect vessels for his perfect will. Our lives are beautifully imperfect bowls in which He fills us with all of His goodness.
Don’t allow the enemy to keep you in a pity party of one. Repent. Accept God’s forgiveness. And enjoy the SUNDAE.