As I’ve been reading through Isaiah and Jeremiah this week, the concepts of love and forgiveness keep blowing me away. God states all these things that were done by Israel, and that we all have done- not trusting Him even when we have seen so clearly that He is real and trustworthy, turning our backs on Him after He has provided everything we can imagine ever wanting plus some more, looking right in His face and denying that he exists or matters. And, understandably, He is upset about it. Like very upset. He is betrayed, denied, lied to, hurt, used.
Just like any of us would be in similar circumstances.
But He has the power to totally destroy us or turn us into frogs or make our lives horribly miserable or basically whatever He wants. And is totally justified to do so, and sometimes does. (Not the frog part though, I think….lol) And both Isaiah and Jeremiah are full of His threats to do so.
And there a lot of people stop, seeing only the “God of the Old Testament” (who is no different now, by the way….), lots of vengeance and war and things. And they totally miss the point.
Both books are at their heart, a call to repentance and a note of love. I cannot count how many times both books say
“I will restore you”
“Repent and I will enable you to overcome”
“I want to bless you”
“Your country will endure forever and all people will flock to you”
“I love you so much”
And that idea overwhelms me.
Think about it. You have an extremely close friend whom you care for very much. And they go through a hard time. So you give them everything you have- all your food, your clothes, your home. Not just to stay in or borrow. To own. Then they tell you they hate you. Things get bad for them again, and they come back to you, hoping you will help them. So you do. You give them all your savings, even that 401(k) you’ve been fighting to put money in for the last 20 years. They take it, of course, and run off. You don’t hear from them for two years. When you do, they just want more from you and don’t bother to even ask how you’ve been since they last saw you.
And you look at them and say, Yes, I want to help you and I will give you everything I can, but please tell me thank you. I love you, and I want to give you more. And I desire to be closer to you. And I forgive you.
Like that. How can you not love a God like that? How can you not be drawn to someone who will love you despite your open using and abusing of them, who still desires to be with you despite your failings?
Oh, God, how You love us!
When I first started this internship at Hope City, I was wanting to learn how to help others without enabling them. And I am learning that, it’s not about enabling someone or not in their problems. (Of course there are boundaries that need to be maintained. Don’t get me wrong. But I am becoming more convinced that those boundaries are more for that time period when the individual is seeking to overcome their difficulties. ) It’s about enabling someone to love. And the only way that can be done is by demonstrating love, lots of it.
Thank You Lord for the massive love You’ve demonstrated to us in the death and resurrection of Your Son, and the love that You continue to share!!! I am so humbled by all that You do for me.
Enable me to show that love better. Wake us up to our lethargy and wanderings from You and enable us to give as much as we have received from You.