Taking it for granted

One of my favorite lines in hymns comes from the great Scandinavian anthem “How Great Thou Art.”

“And when I think, that God his son not sparing
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,” (Karl Boberg).

I “get” the attraction of the first two verses. Many of us live in urban areas and feel harried and harassed. We long for the times we can gaze at the stars on a clear night, or on a mountainside, the breeze blowing gently and the birds “singing sweetly in the trees.”

Yet as great as God’s creation is, and it is great beyond the power of words to express, God’s love and mercy is greater. God’s power is matched and even exceeded by his love. And I love the line, “I scarce can take it in.”

We take God’s love for granted; the song writer can hardly grasp it. Dear reader, have we forgotten something? Do we take God’s mercy for granted? How presumptuous can we be, if we think God is “supposed” to forgive us?

Please know this: If God was to forgive one human being, one time in history, that would be one more sin than he was obliged to forgive. Just because God’s grace is frequent does not make it any less amazing.; just because God’s love is complete does not make it any less astounding.

Think about the fact that God did not spare his son. Think about the fact that he did that for people as unworthy as we. And then, my friend, sing those words again: “How great thou art.”

“O the depth and riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33).

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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