Symeon the New Theologian: Amazing kindness

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And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:6-10

“For God who is all goodness fills the soul in which He dwells with all goodness as far as our nature is capable of receiving it, because God is infinite and cannot be contained by any created nature…

So God who dwells in him teaches such a man about things to come and things present, not by word, but by action and experience and reality. As God removes the veil from the eyes of his mind He shows him what is His will and what is useful for him.

As for other matters, He persuades him not too be inquisitive about them or seek them or be curious about them, for he cannot boldly look into even the things that God reveals to him and shows him.

When he stoops low to inquire into the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God, he immediately becomes dizzy and is struck with amazement as he thinks of itself and who he is to be counted worthy to behold such things.

As he looks on the greatness of God’s loving kindness he is struck with amazement. He considers himself with all his soul to be unworthy of the vision of such goodness and…he is constrained by trembling, fear, and reverence.”

Symeon the New Theologian (929-1022) in The Discourses, trans. C.J. decatanzarn (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1980) 190.

Notice the irony that Symeon brings out for us about the goodness and kindness of God toward us through Christ Jesus. It’s really unfathomable. We get a glimpse of it in Christ and yet we cannot comprehend the depths of it.

What is the significance of this for us as we seek to combine goodness and kindness? 

The deeper we get in our faith journey, the more God will reveal things to us that will stretch us. We may respond with trembling and fear. In those moments, we must resolve to trust in the goodness and kindness of God.

Jenni and I have returned safely home from an unbelievably fruitful trip. We arrive a bit weak and weary but also filled with deep gratitude God for His amazing kindness toward us even with the rigors of a very long journey and a full schedule.

Pause to thank God today for His goodness and kindness toward you. Despite any fears, lean into the reality that He’s blessed you to be a blessing. Now, go do the good works He’s prepared in advance for you to do with kindness.