"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!" ~ Ephesians 3:20-21
We are in a series at Buckhead Church based on this very verse. My boss Billy spoke this past Sunday about the vast, often contradictory differences between what our society considers "more" and what God sees as "more." So often, I feel like we can easily take these verses out of context, thinking that when the apostle Paul prayed about "more," he was dreaming of a good-paying job, and a good-looking spouse, and 2.5 well-behaved kids, and a well-to-do, comfortable life...that American Dream that's more than we could ever imagine, right?
Right? Billy went on to speak about how folks keep searching for that "more to life" in every season as they get older, eventually making it to retirement and realizing their "more" is still not enough. He even spoke about a quarter-life crisis among folks in their mid-20s who graduate from college with big shot dreams of finally "making it" only to uncover that nagging question..."isn't there more to life than this." This last statement hit the nail on the head for me...for that was exactly my sentiments when I graduated from college.
Allow me to indulge for a moment, but I will spare you the monotonous details. I will say that "little Miss Perfect" graduated from college having achieved everything I set my mind out to...a 4.0, all the top academic awards, student body president, the mascot (I know, random!) and the list goes on and on. And as I wrapped up my last exam of my college career, days away from crossing that stage decked out in all my "earned" regalia, my 22-year-old self had a complete melt-down. I will never forget driving down a back country road, balling my eyes out, and finally verbalizing the burning ache that I just could not deny any more. I cried out to God and honestly admitted that for 22 years I had been living for things that were not of eternal value. I was living for things that I thought satisfied my heart, my "more," when in reality they left me so very empty.
There, I had said it.
Those were words I could not take back.
Those were words that, though I didn't know it at the time, would set the very trajectory of my life.
And rolling in my heart during this very "crisis of life and faith" were the very verses listed above. I did not know what God was going to do with my life, but I know what He was able to do...and it was "immeasurably more" than I could ever ask or imagine. His more, not mine.
Don't get me wrong. I certainly spent my 20s wrestling with this very tension - my version of "more" for my life versus God's "immeasurably more." I could see and envision and often control my "more" while God's vision required complete trust and surrender. I look back over my journal entries from that decade and over and over again I read the prayers of surrender, honest cries of my heart, of lifting my desires, my wants to the Lord, only to take them back, and then to re-surrender them all over again. It was a literal tug of war of the "more's."
Tony wasn't even my perfect version of "more" for my husband. If I can be candid, he was a little too quirky for me to begin with, he asked too many questions, he was a little too intense. One of my dear friends laughs now as she recounts how she kept thinking I was gonna "blow it" with Tony just because he didn't fit to a "T" my imaginary version of the perfect spouse.
Turns out that Tony was my "immeasurably more" husband, hand-selected by God, to lavish me with unconditional, extravagant love - love that has seeped into the depths of my heart and unleashed an absolute confidence in my soul that my Jesus loves me so immeasurably deep and wide and long and high...it's truly and utterly more than I could have asked or imagined.
My life, my faith, my relationship with My Savior, will be forever "more" because of my Tony.
And my Jesus continues to whisper to me..."oh my dear Melissa, that was just the beginning of immeasurable...I have so much more in store for you...just Trust Me."
So, though it's not always easy, I choose to Trust Him. Though my "immeasurable" has led me through tragedy and unimaginable pain, it is at the same time beautifully "more than I could have ever asked or imagined." That might not make sense to anyone else, but in some God-sized way, it makes perfect sense to me.
Dearly Loved, living for immeasurable,