Psalm 143:8 (NIV) Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
Unfailing. God’s Love for us is unfailing. It is unconditional. It is unfathomable due to the limitations of human intellect and life experiences. Yet, today I am overwhelmed by His Faithfulness. His Love is unfailing. “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love.” We all have days like that, weeks like that, seasons like that when our soul suffers from those things in life that seem uncontrollable and troubles relentless. Those times when it is tough to see the forest for the trees and just a momentary experience with the Lover of our soul would do wonders for our disposition. Today was one of those days. When my eyes opened, I just wanted to say in my weak voice, “I love you, God” in a soft whisper so that if there is no response it is to be expected. What I find is in that moment, I feel His Presence rush in.
With that I stumble out of bed to check on my tiny patient. Our little dog who decided to eat potpourri and found it not as tasty as she thought. Three days at the vet, endless hours of worry in her weakness, but with new resolve I carry her weak little body outside and then to the kitchen. Though her body seems fine after the near death experience, she refuses to eat. The pet clinic has checked her inside and out – not sure what is causing this aversion to food. I offer her everything she loves and she just turns her head now shaking violently in my arms. Sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with a syringe filled with disgusting wet dog food, I pry open her mouth just enough to squirt a little bit in at a time. Whispering soft encouragement to her as she tries to turn her head and get away. She doesn’t know that I am helping her. All she knows is that I am forcing her to do something she doesn’t want to do. I am trying to keep her alive. It is in the silence of the house, covered in the dog food that missed her mouth holding five pounds of mad that I realize God does this for me every single day. His love for me never gives up or gives out even when I want to give up and feel all given out. He holds me gently while I struggle to get away. What is He after? Nothing. God wants and needs nothing from me. He desires to give me life.
The only reason the little creature in my hands does not bite me is because she trusts me. Though she doesn’t like my method, soon after she climbs in my lap for affirmation. If only every day in each hour and through every trial, I could be aware of God’s Unfailing Love. To submit to His Power in my life which is defined by grace and compassion – nothing more and nothing less no matter how hard I try to make it something else. Sometimes people become so intent on earning grace and seeking God’s Love and Compassion that they forget He loves us just as I am – right now. No matter how stubborn, rebellious or overbearing I am – God’s Love for me is constant and based on His Choice to love me.
I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Okay so maybe you are thinking today, I am just not a “dog” person. They are just animals. I completely understand. To those who are dog, cat or animal people, the perspective is that the poor, helpless and defenseless creature needs us to care for them in the domesticated life. They need us. They love us for very little in return. But I ask you today, if you are not an “animal” person. Are you a people person? Do you love them? I love that little dog of ours very much. I do not want to lose her. I do not want her to die. So when I could be sleeping or studying this morning, I chose sit on the cold hard floor in winter with a syringe full of nastiness and a squirming creature on my lap causing me to squire the gross stuff all over my favorite pajamas simply because I love her and want her to live. If you are not that kind of animal lover, I ask you today…do you love people like that?
God is love. His Love for us is unfailing. Jesus is the example of God’s Love for us sent to show us how to love and be loved. Do we love others as God loves us? Are we willing to lay aside comfort and convenience to give others life? Those people who refuse to come to church no matter how many times we ask. Do we keep asking? To others who make fun of us or even mock us for our beliefs. Are we able to continually show them kindness? To the family member who rebels? Do we continue to pursue? To those who lose their will to live. Do we give up too or keep showing them the Light. When our dog got sick, I cared for her and showed great concern. Now she is making a choice not to eat. There is no reason physically that can be found as to why she simply refuses to eat. She will not live if not cared for during this time. I choose to love and care for her even though it is frustrating. I must be patient with her as she begins to improve. I know she is just a dog. But as I sat there this morning reeking of dog food, all I could think was thank you Lord for not giving up on me! All those times I wandered, rebelled and chose my own way. The times I jeopardized my future, my present and everything you had in store for me because I didn’t trust you or anyone else. You have held me, nurtured me and even force fed me at times – words I did not want to hear, promises I never thought would come to pass, and a love that I did not always reciprocate. Yet you held me gently, spoke to me softly and cared for me just the same.
Love is a choice. It can be a messy. It can be hard because people are difficult. We cannot give up and choose other methods because there is only One Way – His Name is Jesus. He is our example. I do not have to beat people over the head with a Bible. They will not get it. It is not my job to point out every foul thing in their life – they already know. I must give them the choice I was given. Will they choose love? Will they choose life? I have no idea. It is my choice to love them and offer them life – just like Jesus.
Love is patient. I have to believe that God listed this first because it is the most difficult quality of true love. The fact that His Power is manifested in our weakness according to grace makes this relevant and important. Love is patient. It waits. It endures. It overcomes because of its patience. I know they say don’t pray for patience. Well, I say, don’t worry too much about it because God will teach His People patience one way or the other because it is a requirement to endure. Those who endure to the end will be saved. So God is offering us the opportunity to choose patience at every possible turn.
Love never fails. While there are many qualities given after patient, God ends with the most important point. Love never ever fails. It is His Promise to us. That we can never reach the borders or boundaries of His Great Love therefore we cannot set limitations on our love for others. All others even the ones called enemy. If it ends, it was not love in the first place. Think about that. We like a whole lot of people. We tolerate many too. There are even some we don’t really like who are allowed to exist around us. We entertain the enemy many times because as the old saying goes, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” I truly believe that the only enemy given to us is satan. People are not the enemy. I must learn to love them all.
Love is not a word – it is a verb. To say I love you and do nothing about it means it is not really love in the first place. Love is active participation in the life of someone. Even when it is inconvenient, costly and uncomfortable – to continually engage is to exemplify the unfailing love of God.
John 13:34-35 (NLT) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Do other people know that you are a Christian? What is their response? If our Christian walk is defined by love, the world will know that we are His Disciples. If our vain attempts to share the love of Jesus Christ, do not draw people to us but cause them to withdraw perhaps our love must be reevaluated. Love one another. It is open and broad in terms but specific in nature. Love one another. If you find yourself in their presence, they are yours to love.
Love like Jesus. People followed the Lord. They flocked to Him. They wanted to hear what He had to say. Maybe when the churches message is all about love and the people obey the message – revival will come. Love that is passionate to give new life rather than change lives, the people in it and the world around us. God isn’t going to save the world. Jesus is coming for His People. It doesn’t matter if everyone believes. The salvation experience, transforming encounter, and spiritual growth of a believer is individual in nature but corporate in building the Kingdom God desires and defines in His Word. Your hands cannot do it. Your words do nothing. It is the love fully expressed that is the Light of the Word. Love is a choice. Will you choose it today?
As I continue to encourage my stubborn puppy to eat, I cannot help but be reminded of the persistent passion of God’s Unfailing Love for me. Lord, teach me to be this interested and intent in every other weak and helpless creature you created. Those who are hurt. Those who are broken. Those who are difficult. Those who seem impossible. Teach me to love them like you do. Fill me with conviction if I start to pass them by never showing them Your Love, Kindness or Compassion that is the starting point of life. Help me to remember this is Your Church and must fulfill Your Calling which always begins and ends with Your Unfailing Love.
Psalm 36:7-9 (NIV) How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.