Monday, July 9, 2018
Psalms 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love…
Years ago, in preparation for an outreach we did to the local neighborhood around our church, I wrote a small Gospel pamphlet to be given out. The title of the pamphlet is, “God won’t love you any more if you go to church!” When I first read that statement I thought exactly what you are probably thinking – Why won’t God love me any longer if I go to church? But that is not the intended reading. The point of the pamphlet is to show people that God’s love cannot be earned by our actions. God won’t love us more than He already does just because we work to impress Him. And God won’t love us any less because we occasionally fail.
I am amazed every day at how much I still must learn about God’s love for me. My consistent needs to be approved, valued, and loved, indicate clearly how much I still don’t fully grasp the awesome wonder of God’s love for me. Too much effort and energy is spent in trying to impress people. Too much disappointment is experienced when we don’t get the desired responses. Too much hurt is caused by our actions motivated by our frustrations. Then, after the damage has been done, we defend ourselves for fear of losing more value in our own eyes. If only we understood the value we have in God’s eyes and the unconditional love He has for us. We have forgotten how to say, “That’s OK, God loves me anyway!”
Do not think for one instant that I’m saying we can use God’s love as a license for bad behavior. I am convinced, however, that we get so wrapped up in the value system of this life that we forget to rejoice in the unfailing love of the Lord. We get discouraged and even depressed because we are not receiving love from people, and that puts a stop to rejoicing in God’s love for us. We know He understands our weaknesses and our shortcomings. He sees our sin. Yet, He loves us completely. So much so that He even disciplines us when we get out of line.
I’m not sure I fully grasp the significance of that concept yet, but let me try to illustrate it. As a parent, and now a grandparent, I have been guilty of discipline and correction that was designed for my benefit and not the child’s. I have attempted to correct behaviors that have irritated and frustrated me, but may not have been necessarily wrong for the child. But God never works that way in our lives. Every corrective measure is designed for our best. Every circumstance of your life right now is designed by God to shape you into a complete person capable of experiencing the totality of God’s love.
So rejoice! You are loved! Even though some of the circumstances of your life right now hang over your head like a dark cloud – Rejoice! The rain will make the grass grow and the flowers bloom. And even if the lightning bolts send you running for cover, remember the promise of Psalms 5:11 – 12…
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
And if it seems like God is no longer there at all, and that the only rejoicing you hear is coming from your enemies, then read this Psalm daily until you can rejoice in your salvation:
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.