Scriptures: Psalm 6:6 Exodus 19:4 Isaiah 53 John 14-17
It has been a struggle praying and pondering on this week’s subject. I have come to realise the stark reality of the difference between Love as demonstrated and felt by God, and love as it is understood by most people today. I have felt a bit like the Psalmist whose bed was soaked with tears, the heartbreak of this growing awareness of how far we have tainted our picture of God by our diminished view of love, is terrible.
There is a beautiful song “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” that touches me deeply whenever I hear or sing it. The collection of books we call The Bible is a tapestry of the depth of God’s Love for all people, no matter their creed, colour, race or sex. The golden thread that weaves through the history of the nation of Israel, that knits together the songs and poems of the ancient bards, that resounds through the words of the prophets and is alive in Christ Jesus is purely and simply the Love of God for this fallen race.
God chose a man called Abram to be the father of the nation of Israel, renamed him Abraham and commissioned him and, through him, the nation to show the Love of God to the world. The Love that created a universe solely to bring the human race the same delight that He had in its creation, is what holds our world in tension, that keeps us all alive. Yet, we choose to listen to the voice of doubt that tells us God is holding something back, that He never will open up His Heart completely, that His Love is out of our reach. Firstly Israel, subsequently all of us who have turned to God and become followers of Christ, limit God by our lack of understanding of what love is.
Jesus spoke so often of His Father’s love. The parables of the Shepherd seeking out the lost sheep, the son who ran home to his waiting and watching Abba, the Merchant who sold everything to buy a precious pearl, all portray God as the One who will sacrifice what is most precious to Him, to redeem those who have spurned Him. It was Love that sent Jesus to the cross, the intense, immeasurable Love of our Father God for those who, He knows, will be forever separated and loveless without Him and His Love.
We have such a warped picture of what hell really is. Scripture talks about darkness, about flames and about separation. It’s not a popular topic for a sermon, but we cannot delude ourselves by believing all the fantasy that the world has woven around people’s perception of hell. It’s not a place where all lusts will be satisfied without God interfering. It is a place where love simply does not exist. The darkness of being unloved, the flaming torment of yearning for a compassionate touch, the loneliness of eternally being alone. All because we reject the Love that never wants to let us go, the Love that will never die, never become impatient or frustrated. The only Love that will eternally sustain us.
Friends, do not limit God’s Love for you by the way you have been loved, or unloved, in this world. God is LOVE, all He does is motivated by Love. A Love that is deeper than any we will ever experience in our short time on earth. A Love that is offered to us as a gift that was bought on our behalf by Christ on Calvary’s tree.
Prayer: Abba Father, Your unwavering, undistracted Love surrounds and enfolds us every moment of every day of our lives. We worship, praise and bless You, giving thanks and rejoicing in the balm and passion of Your Love. In the Name of Jesus and by the power of Holy Spirit, Amen.
Sound of Wales “O Love that will not Let Me Go”