“He was like a brother to me. But he just left.”
“Why would they believe such a lie about me?”
“I couldn’t understand how someone I trusted could say such hurtful words.”
“It was agony, watching my sweet one struggle to live inside that tiny incubator. And there was nothing I could do.”
“It was so hard, witnessing her last days spent in that hospice bed. But when she was gone, I wished for those days again.”
“It hurts to see them make such poor decisions, when I spent so long teaching them how to make right ones.”
“I used to be able to talk to them about everything. But now they don’t even answer my calls.”
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” John 1:11
Love is messy. The Hershey kisses and the fuzzy stuffed animals that line the grocery store aisles at this time of year don’t convey that message. But those of us who have loved, lost, and longed–we know. Love is messy.
In the life of each person, love looks a little different, but contains the same elements: suffering long, sacrificing, and serving.
However you are loving this Valentine’s Day, whatever it looks like, remember. You are not alone. Jesus is the One Whose love suffers long the most, sacrifices the greatest, and serves the multitudes of the world.
God taught me three beautiful things about Himself during 2016. I am sharing the first of them with you today. And I mean that I learned them through experience, and not just through Bible study or a devotional book. God climbed down into the messy trial trenches of my life and fought with me, cried with me, strengthened me, and led me to victory.
While my heart was reeling, wondering “How could this happen?” God looked on me with his steadfast love.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love.
While my mind was spinning, I needed answers, comfort, and direction. I needed…steadying. And God pulled back the curtain to reveal His steadfast love.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
While my heart was shattered, my fragile dreams broken, and the joy of my heart suppressed by pain, God heaped upon me His steadfast love.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
See, God’s love is not like ours. Ours can waver, but His is steadfast and unmovable. Nothing I can do can make God love me any more or any less than He does. And the amazing and beautiful thing is, He loves me more than I can comprehend. More than anyone else does or ever will.
That is what God taught me in the trenches. I cannot understand His love, but I can receive it. I can rest in it, and I can hide in its overwhelming power.
Is love getting messy in your life? Do you need steadying? Let’s take a look at God’s steadfast love together. I’ll get back in the battle trenches with you. God is there, too. Let me help you see His love for you, and let it bring you stability.
The greatest example of God’s beautiful, steadying love is the gift of salvation. His own people rejected and crucified Him, yet He said “Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do.” No matter how great your sin or how many times you have rejected Him before, He loves you still.
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3
God has loved you the longest. His love for you is older than the universe itself. His love for you is everlasting. Because of this truth, can you see that Jesus would never allow anything into your life that was not good for you? Whatever battle you are fighting right now, however messy love looks in your life, God has a plan. Even if it is a bad, hard, painful thing that God has allowed, God has a plan to use it for your good as you choose to love Him through the battle.
We love him, because he first loved us. I John 4:19
Choose to love the One Who is with you in battle. He is there because He loves you.
But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee…
For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour…
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee…
Fear not: for I am with thee…
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. Isaiah 43:1-11
This truth can be the rock that steadies you. When your heart is reeling, your mind spinning, your joy disappearing, grip the truth that God loves you MORE than you can understand. God promises you here that He will never allow something into your life that will be too much for Him to help you through. He often does give you more that YOU can handle. But never too much for Him.
Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27
Don’t let yourself believe the lie that you are fighting the battle of messy love alone. God is there with you. You only need to climb onto the steadying truth that HE LOVES YOU. Dig yourself in and let the God of that promise protect you amid the noise of battle.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:21-26