Saturday, February 06, 2010

How do I know I am a beloved child of God?

I was talking to an old friend the other day and the subject of their recent struggle with God came up. They indicated that they perhaps weren't mad at God anymore for not keeping His promises because they realized that God doesn't have to keep His promises. God can do whatever He wants. To the extent that you could live your whole life for Him and then arrive at Heavens gate only to have Christ announce that you failed to give that cup of water in His name so you were out of luck.

Quite honestly, I was shocked. The very idea was so preposterous to me that it couldn't hardly be imagined. Especially coming from someone who read the Bible more than I did. All I could think of was how the accusation didn't match the character of God at all. But alas, of all the scriptures running through my mind that spoke of Gods love they all seemed trite, easy to disregard suddenly. I didn't want the verses that spoke of His love, I wanted the verses that implied His love. The verses that told of His character, without ever actually speaking directly to it.

That's why I was so happy as I began hungering for His Word. As I read scriptures that had no bearing whatsoever (well, hardly) on His love for us I found they were literally saturated with implications.

I woke up with God telling me to read Ephesians 5. So I went there and found this:
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.
Which led me to 1 Peter 1:14 whose first three words read "as obedient children"
Which led me to Luke 6:35 which reads: "But love your enemies, do good and lend hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."
Which led me to Luke 15, the entire chapter coming to rest on the Fathers simple statement to the frustrated, sad, bitter child: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."
Which led me eventually to 1 John 3:21 "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God"
Which led me to Hebrews 10:22&23. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)"

But the scriptures are simply full of verse after verse proclaiming Gods love for us. And it's easy to dismiss it since I've heard it all my life but the Bible speaks of Gods open, unabashed love for us - His kindness even when we're evil and unthankful. His love beaming down on us while we were yet sinners. His instructions to us to love those that hate us, because that is the very nature of God Himself.

He's not the powerful crazy God who has a quota of people to send to hell each month. He longs for His children, He loves His children. God is the very essence of love itself. When you hear things like that your whole life, you tend to shrug it off much like someone who is surrounded by jewels is no longer awed by the beauty and awesomeness of the value.

Today, I can assure you I will no longer stutter and gape should you tell me that God doesn't keep His promises, or that He's a fickle taskmaster who will live in glorious communion with you throughout your life yet keep you from separated from Him for eternity for something you didn't even realize you'd done wrong.

If you say it to me, I want you to know that I'm more than happy to sit down and show you verse after verse where God is pouring out His love for you. You won't believe it, you'll doubt and be angry still I'm sure - but God promised me that His Word doesn't return void, it will set out what it was meant to accomplish. And I will pour that Word over you as a balm if you would allow - that He could heal your hurts and bitterness.

It works I know. I've been moved to tears this week as I read section after section and realize that the story isn't just telling me a story, but of Gods love. For me. For you. For messed up idiots just like ourselves.

But perhaps you need to acknowledge first that you need to be ministered to. That there is something broken and vulnerable and angry all wound up that just needs to be ministered to. If that's you, all you have to do is e-mail. E-mail your brokenness and anger and I will e-mail my balm of Gilead for the seen and unseen. There is a path beyond the hurt and it leads to glorious Light. E-mail or comment if you're willing to admit you need help.

And let me just put words to something you already know. You're dying. I know you feel that way even without knowing who you are because I've been there, dying and broken, bitter and angry; confident I knew the answers and who God was enough to know He was too cold-hearted to trust in. But you don't have to die this daily miserable death. You can have peace, hope, you can live again.

Just reach out. Friends, family, minister, church leaders, or some stranger with a blog. Any of us are willing to help.

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