Sumpteretc's Blog

What's on my mind at the moment

Tag: God’s love

While they were…

While they were in the midst of Babylonian captivity, Israel received a message from God via Isaiah, telling them to take comfort, because God’s glory was about to be revealed. Isaiah was told to speak words of encouragement (Isa. 40:1-5), telling the people that captivity was over, although they could not yet see the evidence of it. He said, “Get ready to go home. This is over.” It must have been hard for them to accept and believe.

I’ve not experienced anything on the level of the captivity, but right now, I’m feeling like I’m facing the biggest challenge of my life. I’m facing what looks like an almost insurmountable obstacle in ministry. Yet I hear Isaiah’s words of encouragement and take heart. “Help is on the way. Deliverance is already accomplished. ‘For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.'”

Brennan Manning puts it this way, “God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right. Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; he simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all of these horrors, that the Father’s love is so prodigal that no evil could possibly resist it.”

God’s Unrestrained Love

I’m blown away by God’s amazing words of encouragement to Israel in Zephaniah 3:16-17: “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” This is failed, flawed, failing Jerusalem he’s talking to. Dare I think that he means this for me too–failed, flawed, failing Chris? Has he taken away my punishment and turned back my enemy (v. 15)? Do I have no reason for fear? It seems almost too incredible, but it’s his promise.

I regret to admit that I sometimes have used the line, “I don’t think that makes God very happy,” when correcting my sons. While there may be truth in that line, it seems that it needs to always be followed by, “but he loves you very much. He can’t help it. Even if he wanted to stop loving you, he couldn’t. It’s his nature to love.” As Melannie Svoboda writes, “…God lacks restraint when it comes to loving, too. In fact, God is most unrestrained when it comes to loving. Put another way, God cannot love except abundantly.”