Monday, October 27, 2014

Living in the Wonder of God's Love

1John 4:16, "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

A dwelling is a place you live.  Your home.  Your comfort zone.  What you know best.  You could tell its nooks and crannies, find articles hidden in the recesses of a closet, or even catalog the furniture in a given room.  

Wonder is that feeling of "surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable."  Think the multi-hued wings of a butterfly.  Or the rich display of autumn leaves.  Or the soft, velvety head of a newborn.

Once my husband took me to an art exhibition where the paintings of a Dutch artist from the seventeenth century were displayed.  I gazed into the care-worn face of an elderly man, observed the gnarled hands of a peasant, enjoyed the warm glow of a delighted girl who basked in the sunlight of joy, and read the story of the serious life of a cloaked churchman.  These narratives all came to me, across the centuries, for they had been captured on canvas.  Far more living than dead, their tales had been told by the master artist who had encapsulated the essence of their existence with his paintbrush.  They were more realistic than photographs, whose two-dimensional clarity frequently lacks the lifeblood of their subjects.  I left the exhibit, awed that a master could enhance his subjects with such reality and wondering at the skill of featuring the human form with such pathos.

Our daily lives are not unlike this excursion.  Since God's master stroke of love has enriched the canvas of my life, I can be awed by my God, who lavishes such charity on me!  Though filthy, miserable, and wretched, a sinner bound for eternal damnation, I was loved by a merciful God!  Though condemned and headed to eternal misery, at salvation I experienced love from this unfailing God!  Thinking thus, my day can end in gratitude, amazed that I should be recipient of such a matchless gift (I John 4:10).  

Knowing every sin I would ever commit, Love watched as His Son hung in agony upon a cursed cross.  Grieving, Love turned His back on the impeccable Lord Jesus, prompting the words, “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken me?”  Never before had the Trinity undergone such agony, to have the second member of the Godhead bear the weight of every person’s sin upon Himself, to experience the separation caused by that sin.  There God’s picture of holiness became sin for me, that I might become the righteousness of God in Him! 

Like the realistic touches of a master artist, God's love is that transformational stroke that enriches the subjects of my life, deepening their meaning and reminding me of reality.  May I never cease to live in gratitude of this gift.  May I ever wonder at the love of God, which He so clearly demonstrated to me at salvation.

The Wonder of it All by George Beverly Shea
There's the wonder of sunset at evening,
The wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.