Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Dayenu - It Would Have Been Enough

It's the beginning of a new year and I'm not sure where the last one went! I remember some highs and some lows, some great times and some struggles. But looking back we're able to reflect on how God has taken care of us.

I sometimes get caught in the "have I done enough?", "am I doing enough?" struggle of Christian life. I reflect on what I have (or have not) accomplished and begin self-comparing, picking apart, measuring, assessing.... But I'm certain that no matter how much I have done or can do I have never done and can never do "enough" to afford the riches of God's mercy. And really, it's rather comforting that my God always "outdoes" me. He always does more. He always has, and I'm certain that He always will.

Times of reflection draw to mind the Hebrew song, "Dayenu" - closely translated, "it would have been enough." What I love most about that song is that it so clearly speaks of God's over-abundance of mercy and grace - sung about a people who consistently turned away from Him. Perhaps reflecting on the past year is a good time to recite a few stanzas of that song. You can then read a full explanation here.

"If He had brought us out of Egypt
and had not carried out judgments against them
- It would have been enough

If He had carried out judgments against them
and not against their idols
- It would have been enough

If He had destroyed their idols
and had not smitten their first-born
- It would have been enough

If He had smitten their first born
and not given us their wealth
- It would have been enough

If He had given us their wealth
and not split the sea for us
- It would have been enough

...
...

If He had brought us in to the land of Israel
and not given us the Holy Temple
- It would have been enough "


Looking back over one short year versus thousands of God's faithful care described in the Bible has a way of instilling hope for the coming years and humble appreciation for the past. If God had just given us the basic things of life over this past year and not blessed us with abundance, it would have been enough - and more than deserved!

It's amazing. God's faithfulness and care is always more than enough, always beyond what we need, always beyond what we can ask or think and so much more than we could ever earn. I don't know what's in store for 2008, but I'm sure of this: I have no idea what God can and wants to do. So I'm strapping in: I think I'm in for an awesome ride!

Happy New Year!

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