I started the year with God leading me to read, then re-read I Corinthians 13– you know the “love” chapter. And of course, I began to look at it from a human perspective because my mind is all about the distraction of understanding. I wrote about some of the aspects with which I personally struggled in demonstrating the qualities of love found in those first few verses. But this was not what God wanted from me or for me—though I will post those because they aren’t wrong, they just lacking the Spirit. And so, anyway, in late night hours with many tears and travailing prayers and crushing human encounters and lonely moments turned worship experiences, God began to turn my view from my love to His love.
The sin consciousness and condemnation in which I have walked clouded the mind and hardened the heart, creating distance and distrust in the possibility of the purest love offered by God. Because I have been battered and abandoned and disregarded of men; because I have fallen so short even by the world’s standard; because the two together have left a distinct film of unworthiness on me like grit, I had believed that God could not — indeed would not — ever extend that type of love to me. I’m not holy enough. I am definitely not righteousness enough. And well. The mistakes I have made, should they become public fodder, would shame my loved ones and lead me to full on rejection.
God is not a human being–a man–so God cannot lie. And God said to me, and kept saying to me and kept on repeating to me from a distance until I listened:
The LORD appeared to me from afar, [saying], “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Jeremiah 31:3
And the clearer the voice became, the more focused I became on the idea of God loving me. How God is patient (2 Peter 3:9); and kind (Titus 3:4-5). How God is not heated or boiling over in anger (Psalm 78:38), not gloating in His own mercy but lowering Himself to save us (Hebrews 2:9). How God holds back His anger (Psalms 103:8) and puts away my wrongs away from me instead of holding them over my head (Psalms 103:12). How God believes the best of me, wants the best for me, and protects me (2 Thessalonians 3:3; Jeremiah 29:11; Colossians 3:3).
In this season, I am discovering for myself the the Spirit of Agape Love—love that asks for nothing, the covers the multitude of my sin, that reaches for me in the trash of my thoughts, that pulls out the intended creation inside the loving hands of the Creator.