by Dorette Saunders
Although many of us spend our lives chasing after the next best thing, the truth is, what we really seek is stability. We need something or someone on which to anchor our lives.
The Scriptures tell us that “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die” (John 3:16, CEV).
Notice there are no descriptors before the word “people.” God gave his Son for everyone: short people, mean people, rich people, kind people, insecure people, young people…all the people of the world. He didn’t have to, but he did, because he loved us all.
Our attitudes toward God does not change God’s nature. Talk about stability! God loves us whether or not we love him in return. He pursues us to do the right thing. God’s love is relentless, never-ending, never giving up. Like an ocean, God’s love is boundless, immeasurable. No wonder hymn writer George Matheson penned these words in 1882:
O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
Many of us can relate, can’t we? Our lives have been pre-empted by a pandemic, our thoughts have been clouded by death and dying, and time, as we know it, is hurtling towards eternity. Indeed our souls are weary, as we ponder what happens next. But the love of God guides us on and enriches our lives.
Truly we owe God our lives. We could never atone for our sins. Knowing this, God sent Jesus to die in our place. We didn’t deserve it, but God did it anyway. What wondrous love!
As frail human beings we grow tired from day to day. Tired of pursuing what we think is our purpose, but are merely pointless plans. We are tired of fighting crime, racism, poverty. Indeed, we are tired of fighting to be accepted, understood, and respected. We are tired of deception in politics, in the pulpits, in the people we put our trust in. We are tired of nations forcing their will on smaller countries, disenfranchising the freedoms of their own people, and others. We are tired…
Yet, as we read God’s Word, we are reminded:
“Love is patient, love is kind…. It does not dishonor others … it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love… always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV).
Love perseveres. We do not have such love, nor can we understand it, but we must rally and draw upon God’s Spirit which lives within us. Furthermore, the Bible tells us:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV).
This is the kind of love that God expects us to develop. A persevering love, a love for God and for others that never lets go. A love that produces joy and brings us into maturity. Let’s choose joy!
Matheson, the hymn writer, continues in this way:
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
Despite the pressures that we feel to give up, we persevere because God loves us, and Christ is the solid Rock upon which we stand. We know that because God loves us, and we love God, our dreams are not deferred. They lie just beyond the dark of night, and emerge in the light of the morning.
PRAYER: Loving God, transform our hearts and minds that our love for you, and for our brothers and sisters, will be one that is pure. We praise you for loving us even when we didn’t know you or love you. Hold us now while we go through dark times. Reassure us that you, God, will never let us go. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.