I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Laura Hardin (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
I love you.
I hated those three words for most of my life, unable to release them from my lips. I’d heard them spoken so many times without actions to back them up that the concept of love became as elusive to me as the wind, its meaning completely lost on me. Was it a warm feeling? A slightly stronger version of liking someone?
What did it mean that someone “loved me” but refused to care for me practically? What does love matter if it’s not present when I need it most?
The love of man is complicated, because we all love out of our own stories--and when you’ve lived through trauma and brokenness it’s hard to love people well.
But God’s love is simple, holy, sure and pure. It’s a love we can count on.
I wonder if anyone else has struggled with the knowledge of God’s love in 2020. When another man is killed by the hands of police, when COVID continues to devastate lives, when the government appears corrupt on all sides, when the church’s public divisiveness obscures the beauty of Christ and undermines the unity of his blood-purchased Body--God can seem cold, distant, absent, unreal, his love as elusive as the wind.
But our feelings do not dictate truth. Nor does the fallenness of the world. Everything listed above is not a surprise to our heavenly Father. In fact, his name is hallowed all the more as it shines bright in contrast to the conspicuous darkness of our society.
Everyone has his or her own truth to share with the world, but only God’s word lasts forever (1 Peter 1:21). Everyone's an expert on what it means to love their neighbor, but only his steadfast love endures, putting no one to shame who trusts in him.
We may struggle to get to the bottom of what’s going on in the world. But God has revealed the mystery of his will through Yeshua, who described himself as the way, the truth, and the life. The fear of ADONAI is the beginning of wisdom. If we’re struggling to believe and abide in his love, we need to get back to the basics of knowing him.
It’s never been more important to know the heart of our heavenly Father. He saw us vulnerable and forsaken without him and without hope in this world, and he chose us to be in his family. He picked us up and cleansed us with the blood of Jesus, forgiving us for every sin. He’s been with us through everything we’ve walked through, using it all to make us shine like him on this earth. When we wander away like the prodigal son, thinking we can do life on our own, the Holy Spirit brings us back to our senses. And as we turn to draw close to him, we find he’s already sprinting in our direction.
Our Father is with us and for us always. He even takes great pleasure in doing the work for us. We didn’t save ourselves. He saved us. We can’t sustain ourselves through this tumultuous season. He sustains us. We don’t look to the world and its princes for hope. We look to him, and our heavenly Father comes through every single time. His love has flesh to it--with evidence reaching back to the beginning of time and reaching forward to the promise of a new heavens and earth.
Sit back and let the truth wash over you. ADONAI, your father in heaven, loves you deeply. And he loves to show it through action. Want to see it more?
Pray. Talk to him. He hears your prayers, which means he takes action. Pay attention to his activity day to day. Watch the display of his ever present love. Remember his greatest display of love, Yeshua our Savior King. Remember the Holy Spirit, the seal of our redemption. Pay attention to your father in heaven, and walk in step with him, abiding in his love.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
1 John 4:10-11
Questions to Reflect on: