Friday, June 8, 2018

Amazed by Love

A few nights ago, I stopped to ponder the love of God.  The images and words that Scripture uses to describe this love overwhelm the believer with their immensity. While evil in the world and poor choices of others can tempt us to focus on realities we can’t change, the message of God’s love is redemptive.  

It cuts through the bands of perplexing situations and illuminates the pathway ahead with joy.  

It tears down a doubting spirit and replaces it with the bolstering truth of faith found in God’s Word.  

What Word is that? 

Nothing can separate you from God’s love.  


Nothing. 

Do you believe that?  

Demons can’t.  

Death can’t.  

Life can’t.  

Nothing can!  

That’s what the Bible says.

Not one person on this planet can separate you from the love that God has painted across the sky, planted in the heart of every believer, pictured in the pages of Scripture.


But how often do we live as if something or someone can separate us from this Divine love?  Elie Wiesel’s works discuss horrific experiences in Nazi concentration camps and raise questions about the reality of God in the midst of suffering, death, and horror.  One of Corrie ten Boom’s accounts relates her meeting a woman whose hands, twisted and emaciated in such a camp, would never again be able to play violin in the Warsaw Symphony.  Because of these horrors, many Holocaust survivors felt their people had been isolated, abandoned, and separated from the God of love.


Today, children in abusive environments, women with alcoholic husbands, and Christians in countries where persecution meets their daily reality must face head-on the challenges of difficult people and situations.  How powerful is this God of love for them?


Believing preacher Richard Wurmbrand sought to love his enemies by blessing and praying for them, living out the reality of God’s love with those who inflicted pain on his body and sought to wound him psychologically.  This is the essence of that love.  


Baptist pastor Georgi Vins spent years in Soviet prison camps as a preacher of the Gospel and, when I heard him as a teenage girl, he preached on this text— 

“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 creature,
 shall be able to separate us from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

The text says “persuaded.”  This truth had hit its mark in Paul’s heart, the Apostle who endured numerous tortures, including being stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, and beaten with rods. Paul embraced and lived in the reality of God’s love.  It was love that constrained him, he said, to share the Gospel with the unsaved world (2 Cor. 5:14). And for more recent preachers like Vins, this love was powerful enough to convince them of the reality that Christ can work in one’s heart.  Starvation, living in the company of rats, enduring freezing temperatures and torture—none of these could separate Vins and his Baptist preacher counterparts who endured the privations of frozen prison camps from the love of God.


So why do we so often feel isolated from this amazing, incomprehensible, undeniable, and yet invisible love?  When circumstances look grim, when people get angry, volatile, or hostile—why do we wonder if this love actually lives on?  Why do so many doubt that a God of love would allow the punishment of hell for sins?  Why does anxiety threaten many and fear drive individuals to perform acts that, if persuaded by the love of God, would have been discarded long ago?

It’s tied to our perspective.  Faith takes God’s Word as true, regardless of how life feels, looks, or acts at the moment. So love ought to win the day, even if it happens to be a really bad day—nothing worked according to plan or something occurred that threatened to put a knife to our spirit.  Through faith, we see the God of love everywhere.


In beautiful things—like the tiny voice of an infant cooing—and in ugly things—when we are tempted to wonder if the Almighty has abandoned us.  In fact, God's incredible design and infinite mercy are melded together in His holiness, which gives perspective on this amazing love.

Spurgeon calls God’s holiness “the harmony of all His attributes, the superlative wholeness of His character" (The Treasury of David, on Psalm 97).  


How does infinite holiness and divine love find union in this eternal God?  

In the person of Christ. 

As we recognize the filth of our own sin, we become more drawn to the One Who redeems us from all “filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (2 Cor. 7:1).  Indeed, as Spurgeon says, “an unholy Gospel is no Gospel" (The Treasury of David, pg. 198).

Having been saved and drawn into this pathway of righteousness through the merit of Christ’s shed blood alone, then, believers can live out love as others cannot.  

Believe what God says:  not one person can stand in the way between you and the love of God.  Do you live that way?  Or do you react to the people in life as if they somehow are more powerful than this omnipotent God?  The rebellious teen who contradicts you angrily, the person who displays hostility openly, or the one who laughs at your lifestyle—none of these stand between you and God’s love!  Although they resist it, these individuals can’t escape the vacuum of love that fills the universe, the blanket of invisible particles that latches on to every atom in life and every millisecond of eternity.


We can’t see God’s love. In the stench of an alcoholic’s vomit, he is unaware of the immensity of such love.  And yet, of all people, we as believers should know its power, for it was this love that redeemed us and consecrated us to live holy lives.  This love brings healing in the midst of pain. 

A lifeline in the middle of sorrow.  

A way out in a maze of confusion.

God’s love.  You can’t see it.  You might not feel it—in the middle of your pain, ugliness, or confusion. But, by faith—claiming Romans 8:38 and 39, you can believe it’s there.  

Seek God, and you will see His love.  

See His love, and you will know He is real.  

And, embracing His words, believe—no one and nothing can divorce you from the amazing love sourced in God!