It seems like I say this too frequently, but often I don’t really know what to write. What am I to bring? There’s so many things that have happened, things I can’t really say here. There’s so much pain, so much struggle, and so much smiling. There’s so much provision in the midst of heartache. So much goodness in the middle of breaking. Where do I go and where do I start and where does that lead us?
The great love of God can be seen and is demonstrated for us in so many ways. We get pictures of how God’s love is, what it looks like. Then, we see that picture played out in real life, and it’s incredible how we might recognize in so much greater depth what God’s love is like. Of course these pictures aren’t substantial to wrap our minds around the greatness of God’s love, but they do help in beginning to scratch the surface.
We might see the father and son, and see the son become the prodigal son, or the twice-prodigal son, or even three-times-prodigal, running back to his dad after ruining his life again. And we see the father love the son regardless. We see the father fall upon his knees before God, begging for the life of his son. We see the father welcome his child home once again. And, once again, he embraces the dirtied, worn-out, broke son. Then we realize that God is our Father. We might recognize that that is what God’s love looks like, but at a much more minuscule level in the picture than His actual love. Jesus said,
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!Matthew 7:9-11
So if that father is at heart evil, inherently, yet does that for his son, how much must our God love us, since He is good? If the father of a prodigal welcomes him back lovingly, how much more our Father when we go astray? Before Christ saved us, did we not wander around aimlessly, like sheep gone astray (Isaiah 53:6)? Were we all not like that prodigal son that spat in the face of the father, yet the Father welcomed us nonetheless?
Our Father could do that because of what the end of Isaiah 53:6 says: our iniquities were laid upon Him, upon Jesus.
We see other pictures, like that of the bride and the groom. A man and a woman in love.
We get one picture, a softer picture at that, of a man and his fiance, a boy and his girl. Newlyweds even. We see the delight, the joy of the two. They long to be with each other, to talk, to merely just sit next to one another whenever possible. It’s the beauty of that “honeymoon stage” that occurs. There’s the affection, the bliss, the bubbling mirth of those just fallen in love. Christ is affectionate for His Bride, His Love. The Church, us His people, the Bride of Christ. He is not the kind to merely have cold, hard, robotic love composed of only action and works. No, He is affectionate for His Bride. He indeed loves her.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.Ephesians 5:25-30
We can see a harsher picture of us in the book of Hosea. God paints the picture for us, an object lesson played out in real life. God tells Hosea to marry a whore, and he does so. And in all her sin and faithlessness, Hosea is faithful. And so likewise our great God is with us. As I heard preached just last week, we are that whore. We are the faithless one. We are the one that seems unlovable, disgusting, appalling in our eyes. We are the adulterous wife. Yet our God loves us regardless. When we are faithless, He is still faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).
To magnify our guilt is to magnify God’s mercy. To realize at a greater level our sinfulness is to realize at a greater level God’s grace. God’s love can be grasped better and seen as more beautiful by us when we recognize how, in ourselves and by our own means, we are not worthy of love. We are made worthy, but we are not worthy in ourselves and therefore receive God’s love and kindness. He makes us worthy by the blood of the Lamb.
What am I to write of? Christ’s love, as I see it portrayed all around me. As He answers my prayers in the midst of my sinfulness, as He gives me good gifts despite my failings. As He blesses me and grows me up with pain and trials, what is it but the love of Christ? When I see in my own situation how I must love like Christ, and how I am, God’s love becomes plainer and another layer of His love is revealed to me.
Run to Christ, you sinner. He is able and willing to forgive and cleanse and make you new, like He has made me new. Run to the Father that will never fail you, and trust His Son’s work instead of your own. Christ was perfect since you cannot be, and He died so you do not have too. And now He has risen again, and death is defeated. Life forever after death is possible. Hell is escapable. Why? How? The blood of Jesus shed in place of our bloodnshed. The wrath of God poured out on God in the flesh instead of the wrath of God poured out on us in our eternal agony.
Our God is so very great, and we can see it all around us, in the Scriptures most certainly, but then even played out around us and in our lives. We might recognize how God’s love is greater than the greatest love we witness in humans. Our King is a very great King. May we worship Him always.
Blessings to you my brothers and sisters. Glory and praise to God Almighty forever and always, amen.
All direct verse quotations are taken from the ESV
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