How Great the Father’s Love

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OK, back to the mission of this blog – my soapbox about Jesus!

I made it to church twice this week.  Probably not a record for some but my church attendance has been erratic over the past couple of years.  Getting out the door in the morning is not something I do well, better put, getting out of bed in the morning is not something I do well.  I know it sounds pathetic but…it is what it is…chronic illness that keeps me confined many days, so I blog!

So I made it to church and delightfully participated in the worship and the word.  It always gives me a lift and something worthwhile to contemplate.  My pastor began the sermon with this quote:

Bring me a worm who can understand a man, then I’ll show you a man who can understand God. -John Wesley

Isn’t that great!?  To be able to comprehend what is defined as incomprehensible is impossible.  Yet that is what so many of us spend our time doing, trying to fit within our box the God who says,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways,” declares the LORD, “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8,9)

Yet we are told to trust in this God we cannot fully comprehend.   “Trust in the name of the LORD and rely on God.” (Isaiah 50:10)  Jesus prayed for us, “that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.” (John 17:3)  It was Paul’s singleminded goal:

Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Chrsit.  I count all things loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  (Philippians 3:7-11)

He’s far greater than I can ever wrap my mind around, yet He desires that I know Him and put my trust in Him.  He works in unusual ways, ways we do not expect.  Paul seems to be saying we can know Him best through suffering…does that include chronic illness?  I believe so.

Daniel told us to praise this God who holds all wisdom and power in His hand.  This God bestows wisdom upon whomever He wishes:

  “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
         For wisdom and power belong to Him.
    It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
         He removes kings and establishes kings;
         He gives wisdom to wise men
         And knowledge to men of understanding.
    It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
         He knows what is in the darkness,
         And the light dwells with Him.”

I will trust in this God who reveals Himself to me through His Son, Jesus Christ, and who has caused me to suffer to get to know Him better.  I may not understand it all, but I want to know Him more.

It is only from the perspective of the trinitarian God that we can claim that “God is Love,” because love is never alone. Instead, it brings together those who are separate while maintaining their distinct characters. From the perspective of the triune God, one can say, along with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “only a suffering God can help.” The God who is with us and for us in his suffering love can understand us and redeem us.   -Jurgen Moltmann

“How great the Father’s love for us…How vast beyond all measure…That He would give His only Son…for such a wretch, His treasure…”

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12 responses »

  1. I am so crazy about JESUS! you should stop over at Godgals and leave a comment she is talking about this too!!! hahaha don’t you love when we just have some time to brag/boast on our Savior/King! I love it.

    I love the CS Lewis quote from Narnia about Aslan “Hes not safe but hes good” we are safe with him, but not as we may think…as HIS ways are not ours, but HE is always good!

  2. I wonder if we have any words that can express just HOW great He is. . .

    He created a people to worship Him and bring Him glory who willfully disobeyed one little rule. That disobedience so corrupted the human race that we enter this world without hope of ever reaching him – objects of His just wrath.

    He sent His own Son upon whom He poured out His wrath and who took OUR punishment for sin – sent His own Son do die for us, then raised Him up again.

    He sent His Spirit to awaken the spiritually DEAD so that they could look upon and believe in the One He raised.

    And one day we will be reunited with Christ, having been given to the Son by His loving Father as a precious gift, to the praise of His glorious grace!

    Is that GREAT or what?

  3. Truly humbling, Blessed One.

    Darla, I love that description in Lewis’s book as well. It so perfectly describes Him, “Safe? No…but He’s good.” 😉

    Dan, It is the GREATEST!! 😆 Your words caused the Spirit to rise up in me!!

  4. I’m glad you’ve gotten back on your “soapbox about Jesus,” Michelle. Yay!!!

    Those verses you shared from Isaiah stuck out to me so I got my Bible to highlight them. And then I was thinking about your illness as I started reading verses 10-12:

    “The rain and the snow come down from the heaves
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
    They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
    It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
    It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
    You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
    Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
    These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

    See that? Every storm has a purpose. The thorns of our lives get washed away because they cannot withstand the storm. In thier place, great trees grow because God has purged the landscape of our lives.

    But is the storm pleasant when we’re standing the middle of the rain? Of course not. And yet, though we feel the rain and see the clouds in the storms of our lives, we must always be mindful that without that storm, there would be no spring, no summer.

    And you, my precious Friend, are in for a most extraordinairy summer, far above the highest heavens. For you shall stand with confidence before The Throne of God, and see His Glory, and the storm you are enduring now shall be as a single raindrop falling in an ocean so vast it covers 70% of the Earth.

    Truly, the best is yet to come.

  5. Wow, NorEaster…wow.

    You don’t know how badly I needed that word of encouragement. You brought tears to my eyes for I could understand the Spirit’s work within and without.

    I feel the thorns of my life poking deep and know that He’s doing a work only He can do – the storms keep passing through, the sun comes out for a day, and another storm looms on the horizon, but I believe He is doing a work.

    In faith, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross…

    Thanks, NorEaster, you’ve inspired me to press on. 🙂

  6. Michelle, you are so inspiring! i make sure I have the time to really read through your posts because they are so full of…..HIM!

    I will pray for you as you mentioned chronic illness…I love ur prospective about it, you sound alot like Tammers who has Lupus. I will pray for complete healing…why not shoot for the stars even if He chooses to stop you at the moon?

    Thank you for your words on my post…..they mean alot to me…right now, especially today has been hard…but in every circumstance I choose to praise Him.

    Jesus is it….and I bow low before my God and thank Him for what He did.

    Debs

  7. The Wesley quote reminded me of a song by Sir Isaac Watts: At the Cross

    Alas! And did my Savior bleed?
    And did my Sovereign die?
    Would he devote that sacred head
    For such a worm as I?

    Was it for crimes that I have done,
    He groaned upon the tree?
    Amazing pity! grace unknown!
    And love beyond degree!

    But drops of grief can ne’er repay
    The debt of love I owe:
    Here, Lord, I give myself away, –
    ‘Tis all that I can do.

    I remember in the ’80’s people criticized this song because it compared man to a worm. “That is not good for our self-esteem to be compared to a worm.”

    They so totally missed the points:
    1. Compared to Jesus we are worms.
    2. Man is so full of himself that we need a reality check:self-esteem?!

    As Isaiah said in Is 6 when he was in the Temple and realized he was in the presents of the Most High: “Woe is me for I am undone.” If we could but get a glimpse of God, we would realize our esteem or works are ‘filthy rags”, WOW!

    Great post Michelle, so was your soap box out getting repaired or did you just fall off? 🙂

  8. Thanks, Phat! 😉

    My usual soapbox has “Jesus” written across it (the rock on which I stand). No repairs necessary – just a tangent I felt He wanted me to take…

    I love that hymn! Thanks again, Sweetie!

    Debs – God keeps bringing you to mind so I keep praying…when we can praise in the hard times we are doubly blessed. I find it very difficult to do at times, then I remember a bruised reed He will not break. I think He understands the seasons when we’re doing well to put one foot in front of the other. He comes alongside and picks us up, lets us cry on His shoulder and brings amazing comfort. I’m praying for His comfort to be yours today. Hangest thou in there! 😉

  9. I got so sidetracked with The Silent Majority yesterday and trying to follow that intense discussion that I totally missed this post!

    We share the same heart on this completely Michelle! I’ve said before that my own definition of healing, when I have made my requests of healing to the Lord, is totally different than His definition of it. He has healed me from the things I need healing from the most. I am so grateful for His wisdom and LOVE that He will always do what is best! I may not think it is the best…but His ways always have Kingdom Purposes…and that is what we live for!

  10. Hey, Tam!

    That was quite a discussion – my biggest day ever!! I couldn’t keep up but sure enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

    I’ve been discussing with another blogger about the goodness of God and how knowing the work He is accomplishing will be done, in His time. He doesn’t see it that way and feels it’s all cruel, if it is at all real. It’s a hopelessness that is despairing for him, it would be for anyone. I am so glad that I do not share those thoughts, I see purpose all around and can rejoice that He has a plan…it is what we live for!! 😉

    Have a blessed Sunday, Tam.

  11. Hey girl! reading all your comments has been time cunsuming..but fun!

    Waiting on more of Michelle’s thoughts….love you Princess, hope you are doing well today.

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