I’ve spent a good amount of time in the past few years using the book, The Valley of Vision, as I meet with God in the morning. It’s a collection of prayers from various Puritans, put together by Arthur Bennett. Apart from God’s Word, it is the most helpful tool I’ve encountered for exposing the depth of my sin and the greater power and glories of the Gospel. Here’s one section from the prayer called “The Mover” that has affected me deeply:
O Lord, I am astonished at the difference
Between my receivings and my deservings,
Between the state I am now in and my past gracelessness,
Between the heaven I am bound for and the hell I merit.
Who made me to differ, but you?
For I was not more ready to receive Christ than were others;
I could not have begun to love you if you had not first loved me,
Or been willing unless you had first made me so.
O that such a crown should fit the head of such a sinner!
Such high advancement be for an unfruitful person!
Such joys for so vile a rebel!
When I sit down to meet with God, I’m not typically astonished at the difference between what I deserve and what I’m receiving. I’m more often wondering why I don’t get MORE blessing, see MORE fruitfulness, and gain MORE credit for the things I do. I’m “astonished” that my dryer is making a noise again, that everyone doesn’t think my ideas are brilliant, or that my one of my children questions my authority. I am so out of touch with reality!
However, my relationship with God is one place where astonishment is always appropriate. Because my life is hidden in Christ (Col. 3:3), I get nothing that I deserve, and everything that I don’t – complete forgiveness, eternal life, communion with my heavenly Father, and the knowledge that every detail of my life is being used for God’s glory and my good.
Lord, astonish my heart today. Make me amazed by grace, encouraged by unending mercy, and comforted in every trial, knowing that because of my Savior, I will never receive what I deserve.