DEVOTIONAL | SHANNON MILLER.
“Kindness messes people up,” the Convoy of Hope volunteer coordinator told us. As we prepared our hearts to pray with people at the last station of the community outreach, he explained how the toughest people can be affected when they receive one act of kindness after another for an hour or more. By the time they arrive at the prayer station, having received a medical checkup, job placement help, a haircut, a meal, and more, they can be remarkably open to receiving prayer and hearing about God.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by kindness? Maybe a stranger wrote a check to cover what you had no means to pay. Maybe a friend showed up with a homemade meal on one of the hardest days of your life. Maybe a mentor prayed over you, counseled you, and reminded you of your worth at your lowest point. I get teary-eyed just remembering moments like this in my own life.
When I consider the kindness that God has shown me, it messes me up even more. No one has ever been as kind to me as Jesus has – choosing me, loving me, and being crushed under the punishment I deserved, while I was still in sin (Romans 5:8). “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,” (Ephesians 1:6-8, NLT).
If I look long enough at the loving-kindness the Lord has lavished on me, my walls begin to crumble, my cynical thoughts about the world fall silent, and my shame dies. As A.W. Tozer wrote, “His love is an incomprehensibly vast, bottomless, shoreless sea before which we kneel in joyful silence and from which the loftiest eloquence retreats confused and abashed.” When I stare into the sea of His kindness, my very identity changes. I realize that if it is true that the God of the universe decided before the foundation of the world, that bringing me close would be worth the agony of the cross, then most of what I’ve believed about myself is a lie. And when I begin to understand how I’ve been loved, I am able to love others freely – out of the overflow of a full heart. I pray that you too will be reminded of how lavishly you are loved today, and that your kindness in turn will be used by God to tear down the painful lies that others have believed.