Listen carefully to the sound of your own heart beating.
The sky around you is darkening. The mares of night race through the dusty streets. You are in this moment the Prodigal son returning home. It has been years since you last saw the starry skies over your birthplace. The streets are unwelcoming. Those who pass by gaze upon you with disgust.
Why not? After all you are clad in the entrails of pigs. You reek of vomit and your disheveled hair is crowned with sores.
Listen. Do not let this moment pass you by. Latch on to the feeling.
For there is a lump in your throat.
The men drag you to the center of the market. Their hands mean and fierce make no attempt to cover your nakedness. Who are you? Not the lowly tavern wench. You are not even the local harlot, but you are a mother caught in a minute of indiscretion with another. They drag you with menace in their hearts. Their intents are malicious. Your children watch you. Your husband hides in shame.
Wait. Allow the thump thumping resonate through the empty spaces surrounding you. Quieten the raging of your raging heart and listen.
The salty winds lash at your face. Your feet is unsteady yet you walk towards your teacher. Those behind you are not startled by your arrogance and brashness. The teacher calls out to you. His hands outstretched invite you ever closer to him, but the waves are threatening. They crash against your faith and assail your belief.
You begin to sink…
I wish I could unpack the gravity of God’s affection for you. I wish I could break it down with words so light and easy that you would be left with no other option than awe. Alas I cannot. For there are really no words to describe this kind of love.
John in documenting the discourse between Nicodemus and his Rabboni, Jesus the Exalted One makes reference to the emphatic nature of God’s Love. He writes, quoting Jesus that “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son”.
I wish I could unwrap the depths of the SO of God’s Love. There are deep mysteries tucked in this two letter word that so emphatically qualifies the love God has for the world. Can I dare to compare this Love to that of a mother whose child is about to be divided to solve a puzzle? Can I dare to compare it to the affection that brightens the eyes of the groom as he beholds his bride.
What on earth, what in our hearts makes such a love so appealing, so attractive? Why does it pull our hearts in ways that the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet never could?
Be rest assured that this is the kind of Love that treks the jagged path way of Golgotha bearing not just the cross but also the agony and burden of the world. This Love empties itself of all claims to God-ship and drinks the bitter tonic of death. Despite the knowledge that many would reject him, this Love makes provision for their redemption and reconciliation.
Men who have plunged the depths of this Love emerge with changed hearts as Naaman did from the Jordan River with a raiment of skin as new as a baby. This Love possesses in its grip a nectar so delightsome that men who have tasted of it are infused with a power that causes them to outstrip trained chariots.
Such a Love is SO. It is lavish and lush. It is delectable and delightful. It is not as the decadent affection of death and hell. It is not as the trifle trinket of lust and greed. It is glorious and gracious.
Isaiah 43:25 I, yes, I alone am he who blots away your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. [Living Bible (TLB)]
This manner of love is bestowed upon us. It takes the undeserving and makes him deserving. It qualifies the unqualified. This Love looks upon the prodigal son and without mincing words says “WELCOME HOME”. This Love beholds the adulterous woman and utters words with tremendous gravity “I DO NOT CONDEMN YOU”. This Love says “YOU ARE AS I AM”.
It is the kind of love that says you are chosen, accepted and beloved.
Romans – 5 So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. 4 And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. 5 Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
6 When we were utterly helpless, with no way of escape, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners who had no use for him. 7 Even if we were good, we really wouldn’t expect anyone to die for us, though, of course, that might be barely possible. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since by his blood he did all this for us as sinners, how much more will he do for us now that he has declared us not guilty? Now he will save us from all of God’s wrath to come. 10 And since, when we were his enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of his Son, what blessings he must have for us now that we are his friends and he is living within us!
It is this sort of love that forgives even though the sin is yet to committed.
Ephesians 1: 4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!
6 Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. 7 So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; 8 and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times.
It is the form of love that touches the untouchable, and looks with compassion upon those reckoned as ugly. It is unfathomable. It is this Love that blows through the vale of bones and causes dead men to arise with newness of life. This Love is the “mother” of the New Creation.
While men utterly despise and reject you, this Love says you are ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED. This Love is emphatic and dramatic. It silences the raging of death, disease and destruction. It wipes clean the handwriting of the curse. It breaks the chain and brings calm to the chaos. This Love is as the sweet whisper of the teacher’s voice before the storm.
This Love is SO…