His reckless love.
Happy monday friends. I hope this extra day to the weekend finds you with rest or, time to spend doing something you love.
What a weekend! I got to come home to Kelowna on Saturday morning. Prior to that, my roomie got married in Pemberton. A lot of driving but honestly SO worth it. Coming to reflect on the entirety of the past three days, it's been clear that God wanted to move.
This was the first wedding that I've ever been a part of. The entire process taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined: decision-making, setting priorities, having grace for others, and a continued giving up of my own interests. When it finally came to the day, walking down the aisle and celebrating, the day was so calm and smooth. Surprisingly, I did not cry like a baby. What I did feel though was a glimpse into the love our Father has for his own bride. That theme was so clear over the entire weekend. God is in the business of redefining my understanding of what love really is.
I mentioned this in my last post, but I've been reading "The Meaning of Marriage" by Tim Keller. I continued reading a small part of it on Saturday and felt the gravity of it's truth and message in a special way, since the wedding had just happened 24 hours previous. I only got a few pages past my bookmark, but it reminded me of this great and grand love which our Father extends to us.
Fast forward to our young adults service here in Rutland last night and I can tell you I was wrecked (in a good way...a very good way).
Let me ask you the same question we were asked last night by Mitch: do you truthfully understand how much the Father loves you?
When you say to yourself, "God adores me, my Father loves me" does it ring from your tongue with a clear and confident shout of praise or are you hesitant?
I've been hesitant. I know the Father loves me, but then again there is this divide between simply knowing and acknowledging and accepting. I know God loves me, but am in the process of accepting His love. Last night was a beautiful time of learning even more how to accept His love.
The night started with worship - as most services do. I was nervous to go. I attended Willow Park in Kelowna for the majority of my childhood and teenage years and I knew that I would see old friends and people from my high-school. Generally, I've never made a huge effort to go back to places like this, so this unexpected intentional meeting was making me a little nervous. Turns out that the same welcoming community still exists and my nerves were soon settled.
Mitch preached and it was so simple. Someone said it in the opening prayer for the night, "Thank you Father that your Gospel is simple and all you ask is that we believe". He reflected on four parts of who we are that allow us to both love Christ more fervently but also accept His love in return.
How do we love God more?
It starts with ourselves. Not in any sort of selfish or absorbed way, but in a way that says, "Father, this relationship is between me and you, not anyone else". It is simple: we learn how to accept the Father's love, then in return we adore Him back as well as others. The verse goes like this, "we love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Check out all of 1 John 4 if you want to dwell and understand just a little bit more about how much our Father loves us.
These two songs so strongly presented a tangible image and concept of the Father's love last night. The first is "Reckless Love" and the second is "Given", both from Bethel.
The words of Reckless Love created an image in my mind of the Father's RELENTLESS love. Literally no person will ever love you this much. Ever.
"There's no shadow you won't light up, Mountain you won't climb up coming after me. There's no wall you won't kick down, Lie you won't tear down coming after me."
UM WHAT. Okay okay okay, so just picture that in your head. This man, God, is literally doing ANYTHING to get to you, regardless of whether or not you're running towards or away from Him. Just let that settle in to your heart. I was given such a concrete image last night from the Father on this: imagine a ladder, and there's a point where God begins climbing up that ladder. You're at the top, because that's where your heart is. When God reaches the top of that ladder, you truthfully understand the weight of His love for you...this could take years, it could take months, maybe a really long time. God is climbing and at some points between Him started and coming to the top, I'm handing Him a rope - I want Him to hurry up and I acknowledge His presence and am inviting Him up. At other times, I'm throwing stuff down at Him. Like rocks, or maybe shoes. I'm making decisions that hurt Him or make Him sad. Throughout ALL of this, He keeps climbing. Any regular person would have given up on my heart a long time ago. A long long time ago. But He is relentless. RELENTLESS.
So, instead of weeping at the wedding, I cried last night at this point where God's love was so filled in that space. The crying just continued when we sang the next song. Listen to it below after you read this. Honestly, just listen. Go to a quiet place, with no distractions and just listen. The lyrics read:
"There is no striving in Your love."
"You have given everything my heart could ever need. And all you ask is I believe."
That last line wrecked me. I've been thinking on this for ages, especially when it comes to friendships and relationships. Thinking that finding someone or being friends with people is what fulfills us, but truthfully, if we lived life solely dependent on God I believe we are made full. He literally gives us EVERYTHING we could ever need. We don't need to get acceptance from any other person. We don't need to find strength in what we do, nor in what we accomplish. He loves us recklessly, relentlessly, without fail, because that is His nature.
We don't deserve it but He gives it anyways. Wow.
Much easier to say than accept, but holy smokes does He love us. It sounds so cheesy and "whatever" but honestly and in the most beautiful way possible, He is relentless. Just let that sink in.
PS - Saturday night with these life-giving friends was simply wonderful.