Even after forty-five years of being a follower of Christ, God’s faithfulness still astonishes me. In many ways I still hold on to the vestiges of my broken legalistic beginning. That mindset dictates that God’s affection for me is dependent upon my responsive faithfulness, obedience, and godliness.
Rather, God’s faithfulness is based upon these two unalterable facts:
- The finished work of Christ on the cross
- God’s own nature and character
My prideful legalistic side wants to earn it. I want to be the best, the smartest, the most obedient, and the hardest working. I want the kudos. God knows this. So, because he loves me, he patiently and lovingly eradicates my props.
I can no longer be Wonder Woman, for my chronic illness has destroyed that facade.
I can no longer serve everywhere I want to serve, for my energy has been dissipated.
I can’t be a people pleaser, for I am largely isolated at home. Alone.
Until this happened, I didn’t realize how much I depended upon my hard work, accomplishments, high energy, and ability to connect in ministry in multiple places. I didn’t know it, but I depended upon these activities to define my worth in God’s eyes.
How could I be worthy of God’s love if I was doing nothing?
That’s the point. Jesus did the work.
God wants my reciprocating love and, yes, my obedience, but his love is not dependent upon what I can do and with what tireless effort I can do it. We discover this when we get to these lonely places. The Holy Spirit inspired ancient men to record these words, so that we would know that God understands and has even had the words for our brokenness written for us in advance.
Thank God for the warts he left showing on his biblical servants. Thank God for Jonah and David, for Abraham and Jacob, for Habakkuk and Jeremiah. Thank God for Job. Thank God for Peter. Thank God for all the quibbling, disbelieving, doubting apostles.
The biblical record shows us the faithfulness of God in the midst of our doubt, our failures, our unbelief, our lack of love, and our downright disobedience. Thanks be to God that he loves us in our brokenness, that our fallen state compels him to take action on our behalf.
Every time I find myself in a similar position, even in my isolating illness, God brings me good news. Today four uplifting missives arrived almost on top of one another – an email from a friend, two posts from different Christian websites in my inbox, and the word of the Lord I just “happened” to be studying.
A love pile from God. At times like this, we remember that God, who often feels far away, is not. We have yet to understand how wide, long, high, and deep is his love.
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