Rejoicing in God's Eternal Love
"Waiting on the Lord" Series
by Hannah H.
from Virtuous Daughters, May 2016~Volume 16, Number 2
Jesus loves me!
Think of the worst kind of girl you can possibly imagine, walking in sin, poor, shameful, rejected, impure, ugly, needy and yet rejecting help, living on the streets in rags, acting out in rebellion, the lowest class possible.
Now, let your mind imagine the most impressive, powerful, rich, loving, highly regarded, high-ranking, well known, prestigious, wealthy, happy, mighty, perfect, pure, handsome man.
The man rides through town one day for all to see and claims the girl...the one who is so low, needy, and undesirable...that girl is the very girl he chooses to be his wife. His wife! Rescuing her, wiping out her poverty and shame, comforting and affirming her, cleansing her filth, and gladly giving her his name, companionship, unfailing love, wealth, and kingdom for all eternity!
Wow! What a magical crazy story! Girls, this kind of story is not just a fairy tale! This is my story and this story is or can be yours! If you have called on the name of Jesus for salvation, then this is your story! If you have not called on the name of Jesus, I urge you to do so today! It is a decision you will not regret! Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
If you have already placed your faith in Jesus, then take some time to reflect on all God has done for you just in salvation alone! Think about this story, or maybe you are not the “fairy tale type”...think of another analogy. Allow your mind to wonder and meditate on the act of salvation! Think of what it cost Jesus, what it means for you, not only in this life, but also in the life to come! How much He loves us! If He had just given us the gift of salvation and left us to flounder through life, that would be enough to be grateful for. But, no, He promises to walk beside us and give us grace for the journey!
This truth was brought home to me in a new way as I saw my brother-in-law care for my sister Sarah through her contractions as she was laboring to bring their first-born into the world! Sarah commented between contractions how much better the contractions were with David’s love and support. When David was able to hold Sarah or rub her back during the contractions, they were easier for her to work through and not as intense feeling. It hit me: this is how God walks through trials with us. The pains are not taken away. But, they are made sweet by the fellowship of His presence. The pain of living on earth and walking through the trials of life are easier to bear when Jesus is walking with us. Just like Sarah’s pains were easier to bear with David’s support!
Sometimes we forget this support and love when we are walking through life’s journey! Hardships come, the pain of trials are felt, the disappointment when things don’t go as planned is real! This “disappointment of things not going as planned” is one we know all too well. We often feel the twinge of pain and jealousy when we see our friends getting to experience life events like marriage, children, and a home to call their own. We have dreamed of getting to experience these things ourselves, and yet we are watching from the sidelines as time marches on without us! These thoughts will come to us and in that moment we have a decision: we can follow the thoughts of self-pity that lead to the path of depression and bitterness, or we can follow the path of rejoicing in our dear Savior’s love that leads to joy. Something God has challenged me with recently is to take that twinge of pain and use it as a catalyst, a reminder to run to Jesus, to lean on Him, to bask in His love for me. I can take the pain straight to Jesus and instead of soaking in self-pity, I can rejoice in His tender mercies and the gracious reassurance of His deep love! Be honest with Him. Jesus loves when we bring our pain to Him, being real and vulnerable. He already knows our thoughts and the secrets of our hearts!
One of my favorite ways to rejoice in God’s goodness is to keep a Thankfulness Diary. All day I am looking for blessings, small or big, to write in my diary. It may be as small as bluebonnets blooming, or as big as another soul in heaven. God loves us and has richly blessed us. But many times we are too busy looking at everyone else’s blessings to enjoy ours, and that is why this discipline is so wonderful for me! It makes me stop and take into account all of the ways God loves me on a daily basis. Each season of life has its pros and cons. Choose to focus on the pros, and you will realize that truly, your cup runneth over!
Isaiah 45:5-8 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. Psalm 103:4 "Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies"
I am a visual person, and maybe that is why I just love pictures! I am glad God has given us many physical analogies to spiritual things. Let me leave you with one last picture of the love Jesus has for us, and that is of a courting or newly married couple. What are some of their characteristics? They love just being together; they talk to each other often, and about everything, little or big; they love the things that their partner loves. The things that are important to one are important to the other; they tell anyone who will listen about their lover; they want to please each other; their sorrow is lighter and joy happier when shared with each other; sacrificing to please one another is a delight; they do not want to be separated, and they are always thinking about each other. Think about these parallels next time you see a courting or married couple. Jesus is our Lover and He longs for an intimate relationship with us. Many of these things could be said about us when we are in love with Jesus.
As a closing thought...I once heard a speaker talk about the idea of “wasting” time with Jesus. You see, often we are hurried or distracted. We see time with God as something we have to do at set times and set ways. Don’t be afraid to take some time to just spend with Jesus. Sometime try taking a walk, enjoying a sunset or full moon, drinking up a cup of tea, sitting outside, resting while praying or listening to the Bible. Make a list of verses that talk about God’s love, or take a verse and make it yours by looking up definitions and putting your name in the place of pronouns. Doing nothing but just enjoying Jesus.
If you feel distant from Jesus, remember it is not because He has changed! Thankfully, His love is not based on emotions, but on an everlasting covenant. Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Jeremiah 31:3 "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
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