During the storms of life I tend to become very self-focused. I see circumstances swirling out of control around me and I can’t imagine that any of what God is putting me through feels like love. I want to cry out with the disciples (who were experiencing a literal storm on the sea), “do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38b, ESV) Because of my circumstances I tend to forget the magnitude of God’s love for me. The Psalmist wrote, “For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” (Ps. 108:4, ESV)
This ‘steadfast love’ God has for us is described as incomprehensible (‘great above the heavens’). While God’s plans are also incomprehensible, so is His love for me! The Hebrew word ‘hesed’ translated ‘steadfast love’ here is pregnant with meaning. Translators wrestle with the best way to translate it to English. My concise definition: hesed is a merciful love, directed towards a person in a pitiful state, which is based on a prior covenant and therefore steadfast. *whew* (so much for concise!) What love God has towards us!
The cost of entering into a covenant with us was the death of God’s Son. Jesus said ‘”this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:28, ESV) Despite the fact that we were weak, ungodly, sinners, who were God’s enemies, God showed his love for us in that Christ died for us! (Rom. 5:6-10) In the Hymn ‘And Can It Be’ Charles Wesley described this so eloquently:
Died He for me who caused His pain?
For me who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
that Thou my God shouldst die for me!
Not only is God’s love displayed in the cost of entering a covenant with us, but also in the sureness of His covenant being unbreakable. In Romans 8:35-39 Paul asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? …I am sure that …[absolutely nothing]… will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What love!
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
– Frederick Martin Lehman (from the Hymn ‘The Love of God‘)
God loves those that are His in Christ with an incomprehensible, unbreakable love. Remind yourself of this in difficult times.
Further reading: Romans 5:1-11; Romans 8.28-39; Revelation 3.8-9
David Harris is the Senior Pastor at Faith Baptist Church. A former programmer, in his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife Kim and trying his hand at the illusive craft of smoking meat.