I am loved

Reblog: Loved with Joy

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, he will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

I wondered what that meant–“He will be quiet in His love”. Does it mean that because He loves me He will cease rebuking? No, I don’t think that’s right. The proverbs tell us that The Lord rebukes the son that He loves. I needed to do some digging.

I’m so glad I did.

It’s interesting to note that the Hebrew word used here was commonly used to denote the love between a man and a woman. Love like what we think of in human terms. Love that is deeply felt and pursued by choice.

Have you ever been told that you’re difficult to love? Ouch. I mean, really, ouch. That sting doesn’t quit.

Maybe sometimes we read of God’s agape– his unique, divine love–and we think in the secret, wounded places of our hearts “I like that, but He loves me because He must. . . Because He is love.” Something in that robs a bit of the sheen from that truth.

Listen, oh my tender heart, to what Matthew Henry writes of this verse:

“I know not where there is the like expression of Christ’s love to his church. . . The great God not only loves his saints, but he loves to love them, is pleased that he has pitched upon these objects of his love.”

This is the kind of love a bridegroom lavishes upon his bride as he stares into her eyes with wonder and joy and LOVE.

And my God looks at me like that? My heart just melted. He loves me with a joyful love!

I am loved

Reblog: Knowing I am Loved

“I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width and height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19, HCS

My grandmother lived in Illinois, and she reached age 70 without ever once seeing the ocean. She’d read about the sea, seen pictures of its waves, could even point at a map and show you the Atlantic. My grandmother knew there was an ocean.

But then, my parents moved to Florida. When my grandmother came to visit, they took her to the beach. She stepped out on the sand, took in a gulp of salty air and listened to the roar. The sky curved down to meet the water, arching in a planet-sized semi-circle around her. She stumbled, nearly toppling. My parents both scrambled to catch her. They had to stand on either side of her, holding her arms, so that she could take in the dizzying sight before her. “It is bigger than anything I have ever – ever – seen.”

It was at that moment that my grandmother really knew the ocean.

God loves me. I know that. I’ve read it and sung it since childhood. But being able to explain it or quote verses about it or even believing it – all that is my grandmother before she boarded that train to Florida. It’s head knowledge.

I want more than that. I want to be so awed by the depth and length and width and height of God’s love that I stumble in awe—that others must hold me up while I just stand there and marvel. I want to take in great gulps of his love, to be so filled with fullness of it that peace washes over me like the warm waves of Florida’s ocean.

Lately, some circumstances in my life have been bathing me in sadness, and quite frankly, a few weeks ago, I slipped into the first kind of knowing. I believed God loved me. But I didn’t feel like it. Then one day as I folded laundry, matching socks and worrying, God whispered to my heart, “I love you.”

It was the ocean again. I sat down, right on top of the rumpled laundry, and sobbed. I got it. The God of the universe loved me. And with that heart knowledge, that experience-kind of knowing, came Atlantic–sized peace. I write this so that next time I slip, I can go back and re-read it and remind myself how fiercely God’s love for me roars.

I Am Hidden In Christ

Hidden In Christ: A Joint Post

So, if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. …Put to death whatever in you is wordly … Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another.  Just as the Lord has forgiven you, you must also forgive.  Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:1-3, 5, 12-14 HCSB

From Jen:

There is an incident from my childhood that still resides in my mind, beckoned whenever I think of ‘hiding.’

We were at a gathering involving many other children, and some of the girls were being particularly mean, as older elementary girls can sometimes be. While I have a sharp tongue, a fact that often gets me into trouble, I was a shy child, so I left the scene and found a hiding place. Though I could hear them looking, they didn’t find me, and I spent the rest of the evening in my secret spot.

I don’t remember the details of that night—what was said, who was involved—much of anything, really. All I remember was hiding, and feeling safe where I was hidden. That turns something of a sour memory into one that savors of sweetness, and I find that amazing.

Hiding isn’t always an act of cowardice. It can be one of wisdom, and can offer security. It can also change the outcome of something bad.

Kind of like eternity.

From Susan:

Jen didn’t say what she was hiding behind or under.  But, when the other kids were looking for her, they didn’t see her.  They saw the thing that was concealing her.

From Jen’s perspective, she was secure, hidden, safe. From the mean girls’ perspective, she was just gone, replaced by a large object.

Oh, in my life, may that object be Christ.  May he so overshadow me, that those looking for me will only see Him, not me.  That will only happen when I live out the words of these verses, when I hide my old self in Christ, putting away all that is worldly within me.

When I choose to hide wrath and showcase compassion, when I choose to push down annoyance and put on patience, that’s when I am hidden in Christ, eclipsed by His character.

Today, may His qualities completely hide my own.