Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 145:8-9:
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.”
My little niece is quite the crack-up. She’s just beginning to construct complete sentences and now states her opinions on life quite plainly. But for all her verbosity, she is still lacking in one thing: understanding the nature of love.
One day, I asked her if she loved her Uncle Matthew. She shook her head vehemently.
Gigi is the name my mother wants to be called, for reasons unknown. Gone are the days when we just call them “grandma.” Sigh. Anyway, my niece was saying she did not love me, but instead loved Gigi. A few days later I asked again. And again she assured me it was still a negative, saying she instead loves “Aunt B.” And a third time: “No. Eliana” (My other niece). I was exasperated.
“You can love more than one person, Sophia!” But it just didn’t compute with her two-year-old brain. She thought of love as being exclusive to one person and one person only. After all, how can you put your love on a bunch of different people all at the same time? Doesn’t that make love not very special? Life’s too complicated to love more than one person.
I’m sure glad God doesn’t see it that way. In our Psalm today, the Psalmist boldly declares: “The Lord is good to ALL!” The immensity of God’s goodness—His love and care for humanity—is far beyond the far reaches of our understanding. God’s love encompasses the beggar and the billionaire, the Boston bomber and the Bible-thumper. Its scope is unfathomable.
He has no trouble deciding who to love—because He loves everyone. Don’t believe me? All I have to say is “John 3:16.” God so loved the world—loved every human on this planet so incredibly much that He gave up His only Son! Ya, I know you’ve heard it a million times—but hear it again, from the voice of the Great Lover. God so loved the world. A world made up of people unlovely and unloved. People like you, sinning and sinning and sinning…yet, beholding a God Who keeps loving and loving and loving. The Great Lover loves you.
Over and over again in Scripture, God declares Himself as “gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” He says it to Moses when revealing His glory on the Mount. He reveals it to Jonah as the discontented prophet sees God’s mercy extending to the vilest city on earth. And He ultimately revealed it in His Son, the Man-God Who wrote in the sand. Who touched the decomposing leper. Who spared His traitor and prayed for His denier. Who took the nails for every sinner, from death row to your church row.
Go ahead. Ask Him. Ask God, “Do You love me?”
He doesn’t have two-year-old love. “No, I don’t love you. I can’t love that many people—I can’t love that despicable of people. But I do love your neighbor over here. And maybe your pastor and a deacon or two. But not you—oh, no, never you! You’re too filthy. Yuck.” Ridiculous, I know. God’s love doesn’t work that way, and you know it. But do you live like it? Do you live in the depths of guilt and sin, because God could never forgive you. Might as well go on in your lust, because you are the exception.
There are no exceptions or small print to God’s love. It’s as unconditional as it is unfathomable.
“Do You love me, God?”
-Matthew W., SC