I remember a day, years ago, when I was trying to help our little adopted four year old Filipino daughter learn her Awana Bible verse. The problem was she barely spoke English. Looking back I don’t know if I should have even had her involved so quickly in the program, but at the time it seemed like a good idea.
Anyway, I clearly remember sitting with our adorable little Annabel for over an hour trying to help her learn the verse, “God is love.” I just wanted her to say it twice in a row the right way. But somehow it wasn’t happening.
I remember feeling so frustrated, and getting mad even, that she couldn’t say the words, “God is love.” (How could anyone get mad at that sweet face?)
And then somewhere along the line it dawned on me that having her say the words was pretty ironic and sad, if I wasn’t showing her God’s love.
I told my cousin about this, and she said it reminded her of teaching Vacation Bible School. “At the beginning of the week,” she said, ” I’m all, ‘Oh sweetie…” and by the end of the week I’m all like, ‘Sit down and be quiet so I can tell you that Jesus loves you!'”
There was humor and irony in her words, too. But there is also wisdom that I need. Let me explain…
This has been such a stressful year…grieving the first year without my dad, still missing my mom, my husband having a heart attack and losing his job, and now dealing with health issues myself. A biopsy this spring revealed that I have some precancerous (and possibly cancer, too) cells and am scheduled for major surgery next week.
I’ve been mostly feeling the peace and grace of God through it all. But last night, after the pre-op appointment where they warn you of all the dangers, I broke down in tears. I wondered if God was punishing me. I know I don’t deserve any of His mercies.
I prayed and cried and read my Bible. And I remembered these notes I had just come across, of a devotional talk I’d given years ago based on the conversation with my cousin. And now I’m reminding myself to…
- Sit down. Just sit and know that God is God. He has this. He has us. “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” (Psalm 23:2, NKJV)) Let’s just flop down in that field of God’s sovereignty and take a big breath. And exhale. Just breathe. Rest in His presence.
- Be quiet. “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense.” (Ps. 62:5-6, NKJV) Sometimes we need to “Pour out our hearts before Him…” (Ps. 62:8b, NKJV). But sometimes we need to just quiet our souls and wait with Him. We can rest in His presence and know that He knows our every need.
- Remember that Jesus loves you. We love our children more that they can comprehend. How much deeper is His love for us! “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God.” I John 3:1 (NKJV)
God IS love! And we are His children and we are more precious to Him than we can imagine. “…that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height– to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…” Ephesians 3: 18-19a (NKJV)
His love passes knowledge! It’s beyond what we can grasp!
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)
Oh the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens, NOTHING can separate us from God and His tender, compassionate love for us!
So my friends, whatever you are dealing with today, please listen to this gentle reminder, as I listen to it myself…
Sit down and be quiet, so I can tell you that Jesus loves you.
And all together let us shout with courage and joy, “GOD IS LOVE!” And know without a doubt that He is! And let us rest in that green pasture of peace knowing that all who trust in Jesus are His cherished children.