But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, evenwhen we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved! (Ephesians 2:4-5)
ListenJaci Velasquez "God So Loved"
When my son Andrew was about 10 years old we inherited a stray six month old kitten, we named Bob. Unfortunately for Bob, we had an older, dying cat named Bill. (Incidentally both cats were girls!) Bill terrorized Bob. She chased her, stalked her, attacked her. Bob lived in fear of Bill for seven months until Bill finally died.
But the damage had been done. Bob hid most of the time. She ran from people. She had feline PTSD. But Andrew loved Bob. With great tenderness, he cajoled her out from under the couch. He held her gently, stroked her fur, and spoke sweetly to her. No matter how skittish Bob was, Andrew's love was constant -- it followed her everywhere. Gradually, slowly, Bob responded. She calmed down. She started to purr! While Bob has never been a social butterfly, she is now able to interact with her human family -- and even plays with our mushy love-pugs Gracie and Betty.
God's love is often like this. God knows we are hurt, worried, wounded -- and sinful. But God doesn't give up on us. Daily God coaxes us out of our hardened shells -- through the beauty of creation, an inspirational reading or song, the love and kindness of those we encounter. His inner voice, in our hearts. God sees the good in us, the potential in us; all that we can't see because of fear or pain. No matter what, God takes the initiative to love us, and won't give up -- until love conquers our fears and our spirit breaks free. "A bruised reed he will not break" Isaiah (42:3) tells us. God is gentle with us. We become rooted in God's love, so that we can face the world and all it's sinfulness and tragedy. So today let us thank God for his patience -- and let us in turn be patient with each other's weaknesses.
"O God, Thank you for loving me, even when I am at my worst. Teach me your path of unconditional love."