Sunday, September 20, 2015

He GETS me!

You know those occasions (like Christmas or birthdays or maybe even Father's / Mother's Day or anniversaries) when you get gifts? You hint around at what you would like to get - things you need but you don't really think to get for yourself because you're too busy meeting everyone else's needs. Then the day comes, and you start opening your gifts, and find out that some people got the hints - and you are grateful - but then there is this one gift that you never would have expected, but the moment you lay eyes on it, you know that the giver SO totally "gets" you. 

The last time that happened to me, I had hinted (and sometimes even told) what I was looking for - and I got that (and I was grateful!) But I got more. Someone thought about me, about what I like to do (write!), and gave me a gift that touched my heart. It didn't cost much (didn't have to!) but the thought and love behind it was so evident. 

For the curious among you - it was a bound journal.  I hadn't used one in ages ... and here it was - beautifully bound and decorated, and inside there were what looked like calligraphy designs on the corners of the pages. With the journal was a set of fine-tipped pens with coloured ink. That very night, I started writing in my journal - the beginning of a personal chronicle of a spiritual journey. 

More and more I am seeing spiritual parallels as I ponder the goodness and love of God. Scriptures I have known all of my adult life pop into my head with fresh meaning:

"He has made us accepted in the Beloved [One]." 
"He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think..." 
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world..."
"He has [already] given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness..."
"We love Him because He first loved us." 
"I have engraved you on the palms of My hands..." 
"Nothing shall separate us from the love of created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is [embodied in] Christ Jesus..."
"No one will be able to pluck [you] out of My hand..."
"God is love."
"For God SO loved he world that He gave His only begotten Son..."
"In this is love - not that we loved Him but that He first loved us, and gave His life..."
"God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself."

You get the idea. These truths are personalized gifts from Someone who so totally GETS US. He understands our deepest needs and desires, and has already provided for every possibility that will ever exist.  EVERY possibility.  Sin, failure, rejection, rebellion, you name it, He's got it covered. ALL of it. All of your stuff, all of my stuff, forever. Forever. To infinity plus one times infinity! 

The old notion of god as the guy with the club in his hand waiting to punish us if we step out of line is disappearing. In his place is God who is love, reconciling the world to Himself AS JESUS, showing us how much He loves, the lengths to which He would go to get our attention and help us understand how much He has loved us the whole time. He GETS us - He made us and then He became one of us to let us KNOW that He gets us. The more I concentrate on this God, the more the railings and thrashings of those who claim to be His ... just don't make sense.  

Photo "Hand Of Child And Father"
courtesy of winnond at
Could it be that God cares far less about who is running the countries of the world and far more about Who we run to - not out of fear but out of a realization of how much, how deeply He loves us?? has ALWAYS loved us? even before the world began, knowing that humans wouldn't "get" Him, STILL choosing to say, "Let there be light"?? He's a relational God. He wants to be in a love relationship with His creation. He always HAS.

There's a thought. Down through history, there have been people who have grasped this truth of God being relational. Abram knew it - from the moment God spoke to him and told him to leave his roots behind - Abram knew (or perhaps learned shortly thereafter) that God was after relationship - and he was called "the friend of God." Why? because he obeyed? No, not primarily - it was because he 'believed God' (not that he believed God did this or that, but rather that God WAS (is) everything that the human heart desires.)  King David knew it - even with his warmongering attitude (which God called him out on, remember the temple?) - he totally "got" that God loved him, and that He could be talked to, trusted, and loved in return. Because he "got" that, he was called "a man after God's own heart."  Not because he went around killing Philistines or whoever, but because he understood that God loved him, and he had a love relationship with his Creator as a result. 

One day, Jesus told His listeners what the greatest commandment IN THE LAW was - to love God with all one's heart, mind, soul and strength (and the second - as a bonus - was to love one's neighbour as oneself.)  That was the greatest in the LAW. But He also said that He came to fill up the Law ... not to destroy it but to make it unnecessary ... because He would overflow us, to take away the stony hearts and give us hearts of flesh, as when Aslan breathed on the stone statues in the witch's garden and brought them back to life. Again, He also said, "A new commandment I give to you - that you love one another as I have loved you." (emphasis mine).  

Okay, let's look at that. Back up the truck past the commandment (which everyone focuses on) to the way in which He helps us keep it ... "as I have loved you." Put another way, He is saying... "Let Me love you, totally, completely, unconditionally, and once you do, you will [automatically] love one another out of your overflowing love for Me."  Doesn't that resonate, vibrate in your hearts as it does mine? As John (the beloved disciple) said, "...His commandments are not burdensome." (1 Jn 5:13). Now, the only way I know of that the statement, "His commandments are not burdensome" would be true would be if we WANT to do them .. and the only motivation that I can think of that would make me WANT to obey a commandment (because I HATE being told what to do) is if I have experienced His love and goodness for myself - not just a mental assent but a heart-revelation.  

None of this "Well, we're supposed to love so we'll just grit our teeth and do it..." stuff. Contrary to popular Christian myth, love - although it may involve an act of the will - is not primarily so.  Love is a FEELING. (How many of us would have said "Yes" when our spouse proposed marriage if there were no feeling at all? if we had to grit our teeth and let him put the ring on?)

Yikes. There's a radical thought: Jesus as Someone proposing marriage - but that is exactly what He does. It's to that kind of love-relationship that He has called our spirits - the unseen part of us that makes us who we are, that part of us that will leave our bodies when we die. And yet He wants us to open our hearts, our spirits to Him and let Him love us. Now. Eternity is NOW. It's NEVER "later." 

These are some of the thoughts I have been having as I ponder His love for myself.  I challenge you to spend some time today considering the depth, the passion of His unconditional love. Just try it.

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