If I am honest, it’s Tuesday morning, I am supposed to have my post up for Sarah to look over this morning and I had a devotional planned out and written in my head…but as I tried to write it, God kept drawing me to write something different. So I am sitting at the island in my kitchen, sipping my coffee, Ellie Holcomb is playing in the background (seriously…go listen to her new CD Red Sea Road, it’s incredible!), writing a completely new post from what I planned. I hope and pray God uses it to remind us to rest in His love that never fails and is unconditional. This past weekend I was away at a retreat with my churches youth group and the theme was all about learning to be still before the Lord in a loud and distracting world…be still my noisy soul and know He is God. We had times of silent meditation after all the sermons where it was so quiet you could actually hear a pin drop to the floor. During this time, I wrote out prayers, fears and insecurities, hopes and dreams, distractions keeping my eyes from looking at Christ, etc. but also during this time, I kept thinking of God’s love for me. His love for you. His love for this world.
Worldly love fades. It comes and goes, often times has stipulations and conditions, ebbs and flows with circumstances, and is lost in an instant. We just celebrated Valentines Day last week and again, if I am honest, my favorite part of this “holiday” is the day after because all the chocolate is half off ;]. I am always reminded of how our culture distorts love into something it’s not…now, to be clear, I am not bashing buying chocolates and teddy bears and planning something awesome and romantic to show love, I think it’s great. But as a girl in her mid twenties who is single yet again for V-day, it can be hard to rest assured in God’s love to me in the midst of this particular day. Dozens of social media posts flooded my news feeds about ‘the love of my life’ and I actually got mad at God for not giving me the love of my life. And then came the sweet conviction that in the moment you hate but ultimately leaves you in more awe of our Creator.
God ever so tenderly reminded me earthly love is feeble, but His love endures forever…check it out:
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
All of these verses have a few themes: God’s love endures forever and He is faithful, gracious, compassionate, and merciful.
This past weekend, I had the privilege of tasting this kind of love from my gracious Father. It’s the kind of love that leaves you speechless and wondering what you did to deserve it. The greatest thing about God’s steadfast love is we do not deserve it—He freely gives it to us. You see, God sent Jesus to earth to seek and save the lost…why? Because He loves us. Jesus emptied himself of absolutely everything, including humbling himself to the point of not counting his equality with God the Father something to be grasped (Phil 2), humbling himself to death on a cross, pouring out His unconditional love upon humanity.
At times this kind of love seems too good to be true, like that perfect fairytale we only read about in Disney princess stories. But this love is not a fantasy. It’s real. We all have those failures that make us feel unlovable and we’ve all had those moments of anger where we made someone feel unlovable. God’s love is different.
God’s love never fails.
God’s love is unconditional.
God’s love looks not at what you have done to deserve it, but what Christ did on your behalf.
God’s love does not need to be earned.
God’s love is behind and before you.
God’s love is steadfast.
God’s love goes to the depth of your deepest shame, but doesn’t stop there…it goes even further.
God is love.
It’s easy to think about God as some ruler someplace in the sky sitting on a judgment throne and yes, he is sitting on the throne and yes he will judge the earth, but he is far more than just that. God is our loving, compassionate, merciful, faithful Father. I do a bunch of nannying kids and babysitting and when a kid falls down or gets hurt, what do they do? They come running, with tears falling down their faces, arms lifted high, just wanting to be held and loved, comforted and feeling safe. We, as Children of God, are the same way. When life beats us down, God is waiting, with arms open wide and full of love to pick us up and be our comfort. I heard it put once that when we worship and raise our arms, it is not to show off or be “macho spiritual,” but it’s expressing our deep desire for our Father to pick us up and draw near. This picture has changed my view of God so much; instead of running to fleeting love found in this world, I simply need to look up to my Heavenly Father and receive His love. Love is steadfast. Love endures. Love is vulnerable. Love is hard. Love covers a multitude of sins. God is love, may my love for others emulate God’s love for me. Live out of the love that has been poured upon you, it’s more freeing than living without love.
I mentioned Ellie Holcomb earlier and she has this song called “You Are Loved” here is the chorus…but you should definitely just listen to the whole album.
And you are loved
Not because of what you’ve done
Even when your heart has run the other way
Nothing’s gonna change His love
And you are wanted
Not because you are perfect
I know that you don’t think you’re worth that kind of grace
But look into His face you’ll know
That you are loved