“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NASB)
The other day I passed a group of students on campus, holding a sign that said “Love is blind.”
Honestly, I don’t really agree with that.
I like to think that God isn’t blind to my sin. I like to think that God is who He says He is, that He sees everything, that He knows the depths of my sins, that He sees the ugliness of my soul. And yet He loves me. And yet He chose me to save me. And yet he sent his son to die for me.
Doesn’t that make the love of God that much more beautiful, that much more wonderful, that much more gracious? Why would I want to hide the disgusting filth of my sin, if I know that when I confess, He is faithful to forgive? Why would I guard my brokenness from the only one able to mend it?
The greatest love in the history of the world is not blind. It is all-seeing. It rages against the arrogant, rebellious sins of my soul. It reviles the failures of my flesh. And yet it lavishes grace upon grace over me. It rescues me. It washes me clean and offers me new life.
God is love. And God is by no means blind. He loved a people whom He well knew to be undeserving.
“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and wait.”
So often, I cry out to the Lord in the morning (or right before I fall asleep at night), and then promptly check off the box on my to do list that says “pray,” and carry on with my day. I move on to forget the things my heart had seemed to earnestly desire just a couple hours ago. But David, when he wrote this, didn’t just sit or wish–he waited for the Lord. He called out to God in full faith, knowing who God is, knowing what God can do, and sacrificed, knowing what God required, and then he waited in full expectation, in full hope that God would deliver. David didn’t offer a sacrifice and walk away; he remained in the presence of the Lord, waiting for God to answer his prayer.
This week, I’ve been doing a lot of praying in preparation for my new semester at college. The challenge for the next semester (and forever, I guess) is to teach myself to trust fully in God’s faithfulness to me. I walk away from prayer unchanged because I don’t entirely trust that God will come and actively change my life. Instead, I go about my day, attempting to control my life and mold it into my own vision of success. When I look at David’s heart, I clearly see how he has come to the end of his own efforts, and has chosen to rely on the might of God to save him.
In this coming school year, my prayer is that I won’t just pray anymore. I want to pray and wait. I want to believe in the power and in the compassion of God to answer my prayers and to accomplish his will through my life. I want to lean on Him to work and to change my attitude that says that my ways are higher than His. I want to stop walking away from my prayer time, unaffected and unchanged because in my heart of hearts, I don’t really think He will deliver or make a difference. I have full faith that God is strong enough, kind enough and compassionate enough to hear me, to deliver me, and to transform me.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us”
In Genesis 2, God creates Eve, saying “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a suitable helper.” And thus, out of Adam’s rib, Eve is created. But as a twenty-first century woman, this idea of only ever becoming a man’s “suitable helper” is such a highly offensive thought. As a college student, I have so often thought, What if I am never going to have the opportunity to use this education? What ACTUALLY is my purpose as a woman? A huge portion of women are under the impression that we (as a gender) were invented solely to help garden and name animals, and then were later blamed because we ate of the apple first. Let’s get this out of the way: women ARE helpers. Women WERE created with the intention of helping men. BUT, this is not the lowly calling to scrub toilets and change diapers. If you look to the origin of the word “helper,” it translates to the word ezer in Hebrew. Ezer is a term used throughout the Old Testament to not only describe the creation of women, but also to describe God himself. Thus, the role of the helper is a high calling that God has even placed upon himself. Women, just like men, were created in the image of God, as seen in Genesis 1:27. Therefore, women are called uniquely to help men through embodying in the flesh the image of God as an ezer.
Someone once told me that “Where there is no sacrifice, there is no fire.” More and more, that saying has come to strike me as something I need to not only understand, but practice. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” Wow. “In view of God’s mercy” I am offering up my life because God has given it to me. He has given me a NEW life in Christ Jesus, and the only way I can ever thank him for that is to offer it up to him, to serve and love him all of my days. I am offering up my life because I know that it is not my own, that it has been bought at the highest of prices. Jesus, a perfect man, had to offer up his own spotless, innocent life in exchange for my broken one. What mercy. “this is your true and proper worship” Not only is my act of sacrifice a response to mercy, but it is also the only logical thing I can do when I am confronted with the sheer majesty and holiness of the Lord. I am in awe of his beauty, and the only thing I can do is offer him what I have. But then I look around and realize…in his presence, I have nothing. He has given me everything. And the one thing that he has given me irrevocably is the gift of eternal life. So this is what I offer in worship to my King. I consecrate my life to worshipping him and seeking his face. That said, I will sacrifice. I want to know the fiery passion that burns in the heart of God. I want to burn with that fire every single moment of every single day. And I am willing to give my life in order to pursue it, to know God’s heart and to worship Him in all His majesty.
Last weekend, I had the unfortunate experience of cleaning up after a friend of mine who had a little too much to drink at a party, and ended up throwing up both on the carpet in my dorm room and on the bathroom floor a couple doors down. Needless to say, I was pretty disgusted and wanted to throw up a little bit myself when I realized that it was up to me to clean everything up. But I stayed up late and did it, along with the help of a few compassionate friends.
On the outside, this looked as though I did everything right. I cleaned up the carpet so you’d never know that anything was there, I washed down the bathroom floor, and made sure that there were no remaining traces of vomit anywhere. I did it without complaining and without accusation.
But God was testing my heart in this time. After I laid down to go to sleep at 5am, I realized that, in fact, I had done it with complaining and with accusation. Even if I hadn’t said anything out loud, I had definitely been angry with my friend for not only making me wait in the rain for 30 minutes before we could leave the party but also for forcing me to clean up his disgusting mess because he couldn’t handle himself at a party. The next morning, I was even more frustrated when he failed to truly apologize for any of it and ended up just making jokes about it, not seeing that I was clearly angry at him. I saw all my self-righteous pride, my anger, and my selfishness come out. God showed me that even if I did the right thing on the outside, I sure hadn’t done it with the right heart on the inside. And isn’t that what a Pharisee is–someone who does the right thing on the outside but grumbles and judges others on the inside?
Jesus has shown me GRACE. He went to the cross and died for me without complaint, like a lamb, silent before its shearers. He committed the greatest act of service, allowing himself to be unjustly slaughtered in the most humiliating way, just so that I could live. This is amazing grace.
Not only do I need grace to give to my friend, but I need grace for my own sins, for my failures to have a joyful heart in my opportunity to serve someone else. Jesus, forgive my debts as I forgive my debtors. I am so broken and in need of God’s grace to even continue pursuing this path to righteousness.
In the beginning,
You created everything.
You created the sun and the sky,
the birds and the bees.
You divided night from day,
and land from sea
You had a whole world in your hands
and yet you made me.
I am your masterpiece, your beloved
Your love, your one and only.
You’re the almighty creator;
you have mountains to form and storms to unveil,
but yet you still have time to count the hairs on my head.
You have time to define my talents and my dreams,
my hopes and my failures.
You should’ve been planning the next great earthquake
but you chose to ordain good works for me.
You are the almighty creator,
in charge of the heavens and the earth,
but you love me enough to send your son for me.
You wanted my heart, you wanted my soul.
Oh God, how can I ever understand?
I misunderstand, I put you in a box.
I fail to see the greater purpose.
I assume that you are only here for me.
But now I understand, now I see.
You are the almighty creator, the god of land and sky and sea.
You are so much more incredible than I could ever imagine you to be.
Lord I want more of you
Living water rain down on me
Lord I need more of you
Living breath of life come and fill me up
We are hungry
We are hungry
We are hungry for more of you
We are thirsty
We are thirsty for more of you
Recently, God has been revealing to me my shortcomings, not only in my character but also even in my knowledge of his Word. Last week in English class, I read a text in which the author referenced Sanballat and Tobiah, two dissenters to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, found in Nehemiah. Unfortunately, these names went completely over my head, and I was forced to google the reference, only to be disappointed that these two men were characters in my favorite book and I had no idea. This presented me with a burning, huge conviction: I need to know the Word. I love God. I do. Yet I seem not to know his promises or even near to half of the things he desires of me. How is it that when there’s a boy I like, I practically pounce on my phone every time his name pops up on the screen, but when the god of the universe spends hundreds of thousands of years perfecting a beautiful love story for me, I ignore half of it, dismissing it as “ancient history” which I have no interest in? How can I claim I am truly hungry and thirsty when I make no effort to satiate these desires? Brothers and sisters, this should not be! So here begins my journey for the next semester (at least) of digging into God’s word, especially the Old Testament so that I can know my God better as well as soak my heart in the truth of His unconditional love, grace, and mercy for me. Beginning tomorrow…Genesis 1. From the top.