To Be Loved.
I had a little trouble uploading blogs this week, but if you read Wednesday's blog, you are aware of this new journey I am on - seeking the Lord in the stillness. (You can read Wednesday’s blog - Searching for Storms HERE if interested)
Seeking the Lord in the still peaceful stages of life is easier said than done. What is easy in the stillness - Complacency. Laziness. Distraction. Busyness. Independence. Control. These are not intentionally engaged - it's just so easy to fall into.
Today, I woke to have my typical #timewithGod- Prayer, devotional, reading, praying, worship...and I sat - still, quiet and speechless.
Again, I prayed, asking God to teach me in this place. Show me how to hear You in the quiet.
Not to be irreverent – but I somewhat feel like Will Ferrell in the movie Elf, when he did not know what to do with his hands…I don’t know what to do with my heart here. I know my track record – I know I am naturally drawn to Independence, Control and to overwhelm my schedule - jump into life with an "I got this" attitude.
But in that moment, I had an overwhelming sense to listen to a song that has been very influential in the past year - A Little Longer by Jenn Johnson. (I wrote a blog influenced by the song some time ago - read it HERE)
I knew this song. I knew how I felt in some really tough, broken, and lonely places. I sat reflecting once more what it felt like to ask “what can I give” from that broken place.
Side note: Have you ever been in a place where you felt mentally, physically and emotionally EMPTY? DRAINED? Are you there now, perhaps? – If so, listen to the first 3 minutes and 40 seconds of the song on repeat! From that depleted place – ponder how good and gracious God is and let the words “what can I give to you – because I cannot thank you enough” sink in until they pour from your desperate need and shattered heart. Turn your attention from the circumstance to the Savior. Let this really sinks in, where your emptiness is a fleeting thought and you are desperate to find anything you can give Him to thank Him. Once you are there - then listen to the rest of the song ... where the response of God’s heart is gently whispered – but if like me – those words rushed through every empty place in my being.
So here, I sit, in a new season. Where I am not empty. Wondering, would this song still hold that depth here - where I feel seemingly whole. So, I listened – admittedly hesitant. Maybe even slightly doubtful. As I sat and listened, my doubtful heart and hesitant mind softened to the truth that resounds in every season – OUR GOD IS GOOD. HE IS GRACIOUS. AND HE LOVES US. Four minutes into the song, I found myself in a flood of tears. Humbled by the God I love. He loves me so much that in my emptiest moments He asks “Wait… Just stay here with me…”
BUT, today I realized He asks the very same of me in my fullest moments –
"WAIT. This moment is too sweet. Please stay here with me. Love on me a little longer… Because I’m in love with you.”
The existence of God’s love does not require action. His love does not demand performance. Our perfection is not a prerequisite. He already loves us. HE LOVES YOU. Before you ever turn your gaze. He loves you!
Action is not a requirement for His love.
God demonstrated His love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
His love for us not only existed prior to any action we may have taken, but He proved & demonstrated that love when He sent His Son to die on the cross for each of us – regardless of our current status or our future response.
The word “were” in that sentence is the Greek word eimi, which is used throughout the bible to refer to past, present, and future tense interchangeably. He loved you when you were a sinner, as you currently are (a sinner), and for all the days that lie ahead of you (a sinner. (which is good because his love led to grace & mercy…which gave us the opportunity to accept His gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ’s death!) Every day I wake with breath in my lungs, I wake to both the struggles of my flesh - which condemn me as a sinner, but also the incredible gift of salvation - which saved me from that which condemned me, and convicts me as a child of God. Not only does it precede our action, but ...
His love exists regardless of our performance.
All we have to do to see this is to look at Israel, who consistently underperformed – but God loved them fiercely. And if that is not enough – Look at the fact that in Romans 1, Paul shocked the Jews with the declaration that salvation was available “also to the Greek,” (Romans 1:16) who had not been subject to the Law all this time. And in saying that – they had not been required to perform. But yet, the gift of Salvation, or the evidence of God’s love, was made available to them as well. Even Jesus himself stated He came “not for the righteous, but for sinners” (Matthew 9:3) And as we pursue a relationship with God, subjected to the shortcomings of our flesh – remember too...
His love remains constant, even in the presence of our imperfection!
We know this through His gift of the Holy Spirit, provided to us because “[we] have the desire to do what is good, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18-20)
Now, please remember I am not talking about Salvation or Mercy or Grace, which are resulting from His love BUT do hinge on our response of belief, I am just referring to HIS LOVE, which is freely given, readily available, with reckless abandon. In the words of Cory Asbury (author of Reckless Love) when asked why he described God’s love with the word reckless:
“[God’s] love is not cautious, Love sent His own son to die a gruesome death on the cross. There is no plan B with the Love of God – He gives His love so completely, so preposterously, that if refused, we would think it irreparably broken, YET, He gives Himself away again and again and again. Time and time again.”
This love exists.
His perfect endless love does not require action, demand performance, or expect perfection – it exists. And all we have to do to acknowledge it is to simply turn our attention.
As Believers, when we “sit here at His feet… and love on Him A Little Longer, that affection grows and produces:
Action: Obedience (Love God and Love Others)
Performance: Our willingness to step into our calling
Perfection: Our new Identity through the death a resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This change is not because of our love, our abilities, or our efforts –
It is because of HIS LOVE.
That is the beauty of Salvation - He chose us. His love chose us.
We love God, because He first loved us! (1 John 4:19)
Enjoy this compiled Worship Playlist to soak in and reflect the extravagant love of God:
Reckless Love | Cory Asbury
A Little Longer | Jenn Johnson
Extravagant | Stephanie Gretzinger & Amanda Cook
Pieces | Spencer Kane
How He Loves Us | Jeremy Riddle
Beautiful Things | Gunger
Love has come | Mark Schultz
Our God is Love | Hillsong
Love is Here | Tenth Avenue North
Live Like You're Loved | Hawk Nelson
You Loved Me First | Mikeschair
Your Love is a Song | Switchfoot
Closer | Stephanie Gretzinger
Your Love Defends Me | Matt Maher
Good Good Father | Chris Tomlin
Sinking Deep | NorthPoint
You Tell Me So | JJ Heller
Song of Your Love | Kristene DiMarco