You must have heard and read that a million times if you have been in the church for any length of time. It rolls off the mind like water off a duck. But if there were only one message I could give you, that is the message. God loves YOU; you personally and particularly. I want your mind to know it, and your heart to feel it, and your soul to rejoice in it. I guess it is the gospel I now need to declare. Yes there is much more to Christ’s gospel, like why and how God loves you. There are a lot of lessons on how to live when you know this love, and many reminders of how rarely we deserve or express that love. Nothing changes God’s love, not the heartache caused by our sin nor the facts of pain and death.
Now when the pain which is part of life swallows you whole God’s love seems far away or totally useless. The ancient Hebrews spoke in images of drowning, “all your wave and billows have gone over me”. Our sense of God’s love is overwhelmed sometimes. As I sit with someone who is dying and watch them struggle to breath I think of Jesus slowly suffocating on the cross. I may not really know why God has made life the way it is, but I do know that God did not stop loving Jesus. God hurts with you in the horrors, but suffering and death are not the final word. Love is. God’s love for you has no end. God will love you forever.
Long ago I read a study that said men who kiss their wives good-bye in the morning before work live longer than those who do not. Well of course, love helps people live, and acts of love keep love alive. I would be interested to see if those who express love to God every day also have some health benefit. I know there are faith benefits to daily acts of prayer or thanksgiving to God, or acts of kindness to one another. I also know God did not guarantee a long life to those who follow Christ. The promise is of a full life, and the presence of God’s love. Follow the love and see where it leads you.
May God bless your days, Pastor Rolf