In the School of Patience (4): My God How Rich Thou Art

Rev. John B1ankespoor is pastor of the Pine Creek Christian Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan. This is the fourth in his series of articles on In the School of Patience.

Spiritual patience is a powerful act of faith under misfortunes and trials. Possessing it one is able to endure and is willing to continue in his present way of life, for the Lord‘s sake. Patience is steadfastness of faith when the chastisement is there every day.

Naturally we are referring to people who are struggling with problems and often with themselves. They are often unhappy people, also experiencing besides their problems, tensions of faith itself. They are not the kind of people who believe that the Bible teaches that once you believe in the Lord, all your difficulties will be left behind and that you will live happily ever after. Scripture doesn’t teach this either. But what they do know is that they need patience and often a lot of it. And when we are honest with ourselves we will admit that often or usually we don‘t have much of it.

We sing the song, “My God How Great Thou Art.” I wish we also had a song, “My God How Rich Thou Art.” Because that He is, and we are often so poor. He is so rich in all His promises and love. There is in God infinite riches of all His virtues. We can‘t begin to describe them. We see that also in the life of Christ, as He showed a lavishness and incalculable generosity of love and kindness. Again and again this lavishness is revealed in His works and words. With a miracle He multiplies a little food into such abundance that 5,000 are filled and much is left. He went through the land doing good, day after day, healing literally thousands of sick people. He assures us that He came to give life and that He gives it not in a little measure, but abundantly. Loves does not measure what it gives.

The Bible speaks of the riches of God’s grace, the glory of grace, the abundnnce of grace, the exceeding riches of His grace, the manifold riches of grace. The word abounding is often used in this connection, meaning that there is an abundance of it, it overflows, this grace, into the church and hearts of believers.

In whom we have our redemption through His blood . . . according to the riches of His grace, which He made abound towards us” (Eph. 7:1, 8).

“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 3:20).

“God is able to make all grace abound towards you” (II Cor. 8:9).

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

“The windows of heaven will be opened and He will pour out His blessings” (Mal. 3:10).

“I will pour out of my Spirit” (Acts 2:18). (Italics mine.) Think of a cloudburst of rain when you read of the Spirit being poured out.

When we read this kind of passage the question almost automatically arises, why don’t we as Christians have more of the Spirit and why are we usually so poor spiritually and weak in faith. There can be only one answer. It is because of our lack of faith, weak faith, failure to use properly the means of grace. And of course we resist the Spirit, we quench the Spirit, and also grieve Him.

God reveals Himself as the indescribably rich God also in creation. Examples of this one can find all over. One kernel of corn can reproduce 1,000 more kernels. We are told that if all the fish eggs that are laid would hatch, all the oceans of the world would literally be one mass of fish. Think also of the common maple tree, with thousands of seeds flittering through the air, from one tree, during a certain time of spring.

By way of contrast we also see some of that riches in man‘s limited use of his senses and abilities. We are told that the most intellectual people, or the greatest genuises at the most use only 20% of their potential. God has given them at least five times as much as they use in all of their lives. Man can see and does see only approximately 3% of what can be seen. This means that 97% of what could be seen we do not see in creation. An eagle, for example, can see a lot more than we can. Also, we can hear, with the best hearing, only 10% of what can be heard. Who, for example, can hear a worm moving in the ground like that robin can with his perched head, or hear a mouse crawl like a snake can?

Again, creation is so rich. Perhaps there is nothing as amazing about these riches as what we find in the reproduction of mankind. Amram Scheinfeld, in his book, You and Heredity, tells us that according to the new science of genetics we are what we are largely as a result of twenty-four chromosomes contributed by your mother and twenty-four contributed by your father. In each chromosome there may be, he says, “anywhere from scores to hundreds of genes—with a single gene in some cases, able to change the whole life of an individual. Also that after you were born there was only one change in 300,000 billion that the person who you very specifically are would be born. This implies that if you had 300,000 billion brothers and sisters they likely would all be different from what you are. Imagine that this is true not only of you, but also of the 4 billion other people living today.”

All of this simply staggers the human imagination. All of nature in its potentials of reproduction speak of the indescribable abundance that there is in the Creator. How rich is our God! There is only one word that accurately describes it, He is infinite. There is no limit anywhere with Him. It was and is in the infinite riches of His grace that He gave His Son for sinners. In Him riches of promises are given to His people everyday. He assures us that with all these riches of love and grace He makes all things work together for good for them who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. With the same infinite riches of Jove He promises us abundance of strength for each day, when by His grace, we ask Him for His strength. We are to truly believe in Him and surrender ourselves to Him. And because we do this so little we are usually such poor Christians, stumbling and faltering upon our way of life.

“My Master has riches beyond the count of arithmetic, thc measurement of reason, the dream of imagination, or the eloquence of words. They arc unsearchable! You may look and study and weigh, but Jesus is a greater Savior than you think Him to be when your thoughts are at the greatest. My Lord is more ready to pardon than you to sin, more able to forgive than you to transgress. My Master is more willing to supply your wants than you are to confess them. Never tolerate low thoughts of my Lord Jesus. . . My Master has riches to bestow on you now. He can make you to lie down in green pastures and lead you beside still waters. There is no music like the music of His pipe, when Hc is the Shepherd and you are the sheep and you lie down at His feet. My Master does not treat His servants churlishly; He gives to them as a king giveth to a king. He gives them two heavens—a heaven below in serving Him here, and a heaven above in delighting in Him forever. His unsearchable riches will be best known in eternity” (Charles Spurgeon).


He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater. He sendeth more strength when the labors increase; To added affliction He addeth His Mercy To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His Love has no limits; His grace has no measure; His power no boundary known unto men; For out of His infinite riches in Jesus He giveth and giveth and giveth again. (Annie Johnson Flint)

When these truths begin to grip us and sink in, we begin to realize something of the majesty and riches of all His virtues. And more peace will prevail in our minds and hearts. We will better be able to continue on the way of life and in our trials be more patient. And never forget that His rich promises for His people are there today and always will be.