God's love never fails- hope for the fickle heart
Fear grips tightly. I struggle daily to throw off the chains of fear. I pray. I focus my mind on that which is true and of good report. I meditate on scriptures, which remind me to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and my faith is made stronger. Fear is replaced with peace. Sometimes.
These beautiful days of summer have been anything but carefree this year. Those false sources of security, finances, community, and home, have felt dangerously shaky over the past month. Those are good things to have, but they were never intended to be the where I place my trust.
I don’t always do the right thing. I mindlessly scroll through articles on my phone for too long. I lose myself in a trashy reality show. I pour myself an extra glass of wine to take off the edge. I ask my spouse for reassurance that’s not in his power to give. I desperately try to control everything around me. And then I feel like a failure, because I know this is wrong. The fears grow bigger- and sometimes shame finds a way in, too.
I have a fickle heart. I know this. God knows this, too- and he loves me anyway.
He loves me anyway. I place my trust in God, and then I take it back again, over and over. Why do I do this? I forget so quickly. I’ll start to think, I’m doing a pretty good job of leaving my worries in God’s hands, yay me. And just like that, a new worry presents itself, and even though God has proven himself faithful, fear once again takes hold.
I used to think that my big challenge was placing my trust in God, whole-heartedly. In part, that’s true, but my challenge is more specific than that. I fully accept that He is sovereign and wise. My biggest challenge is accepting, even when I fail to live in light of that, when I take away my trust in God, pulling it back into my own hands, that God still loves me. His perfect love is so hard for me to comprehend. He’s not disappointed in me. He’s not condemning me. He simply wants me to turn around and come back to Him.
“If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of Satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her. This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness.”
I think of the story, told in the Bible, of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, a week before his death. The crowd was cheering, waving palm fronds, shouting, “Hosanna” (which means, “save, we pray thee”). Yet Jesus knew, these same crowds would soon be saying, “crucify him”. He knew this crowd was fickle, and He loved them anyway. He loved them so much that He willingly died for them. The Bible is full of stories that demonstrate this incredible love that God shows towards undeserving people. Life is full of these stories. My life is. And all I can do is bow my head, in grateful, humbled, awe and give Him what I have, my heart, acknowledging once again that I need Jesus.
Shame pushes away. Love draws near. So I release the fear and shame, and once again, I place my trust in the One who loves me. He is patient and he knows my struggles. And yet, because of what Jesus did, God does not look at me and call me fickle. He looks at me and calls me steadfast, holy, beloved- not because of me, but because of who I am in Christ.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31-39