"You're the One"
Last night, I listened to a Mother tell the story of her prodigal son. And I heard her heart in every word as she walked back to his first steps away from the place of safety, of warmth - home, and she gave the condensed version of how many times he had come back, vowed to do better, and fell back. I heard her hopefully telling of his return again a while back, and how since then he was living a changed life. Amazement leapt out in the words she used to describe the transformation. Excitement pressed hard behind every word she used to describe just what he was doing, who he was living with, and how he had come back to God.
"I've been asking God to show me He was real for 15 years," he had said to her - "and He has!"
"And I've been praying for you every day for 15 years," she answered.
He might have thought that his mother didn't love him, because she had told him his behavior would lead to ruin and despair. But God knows she never stopped.
There are times when I really don't understand how people can look at God and see anger, and bitterness - seeing Him as always looking to hurt, to punish, to extract vengeance for people's sins.
If ever there was a people on earth that deserved a good Old testament "smiting" it was the people of Israel. If you've ever had a child cut up at the mall, or had to drag them away from the cereal in the supermarket and had them go limp and start screaming - right in front of some people you work with; well, just imagine a whole group of people that are your chosen ones, doing that all over the known world all the time.
My tendency was always to walk away from my kids when they did amazingly embarrassing things, then walk back saying, "wonder whose kids those are? Someone should really do something." :)
But not God.
I won't drop the whole 9th chapter of Nehemiah on you (that's Sunday's sermon), but here's a snippet.
16But they, our ancestors, were arrogant;
bullheaded, they wouldn't obey your commands.
17They turned a deaf ear, they refused
to remember the miracles you had done for them;
They turned stubborn, got it into their heads
to return to their Egyptian slavery.
And you, a forgiving God,
gracious and compassionate,
Incredibly patient, with tons of love--
you didn't dump them. Nehemiah 9 (The Message)
God never will. He won't walk away, give up, pretend you're not His, or bring out the smiting tools. He loves you. He's proved that over and over. The only real way we can return that love is to love Him back. How?
Give Him your life. Your everyday walking around, stumbling, bumbling life. Decide today you are going to love others the way God loves you. Spend time with God. Hang out with His people. Learn how to love Him, and them better. He's right where you are. You're the one He's come to see.
A Glimpse of New Hope is my attempt to share the hope I have found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Should you no longer wish to receive it, or find that you have received it in error, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will immediately remove you. Past "Glimpses" are archived at www.newhopevalp.org Thanks and God bless, David Wilson