Thursday, July 18, 2013

Faithful Love

"Why should I gain from His reward,
I cannot give an answer.
But, this, I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom."

As most of you know, I am now in private practice with a fellow music therapist in Gulfport, MS.  I haven't yet moved (hopefully that will take place early next year, or whenever God has it in the plans...I'm learning my plans don't mean much these days, which is completely fine), so that means I get to spend a few days a week driving either down to the coast or back home.  I say "get to" because I am one of those people who actually enjoys driving.  I guess after years and years of driving at least 40 minutes one way to and from work, I have come to cherish my travel time.  I often spend this time listening to music...usually a mix of songs that I have put together.  I have a ton of playlists with music varying from rock to Christian to folk to blues to pop.  I usually end up putting songs together that are a favorite at the time or that speak to me in some way or that are pertinent to something I'm dealing with.  I develop new playlists every couple of months or so, and it is always interesting to go back a couple of years and look at the songs I was listening to.  I can pretty much tell you what was going on in my life based on the music I was listening to.  

Well, a couple of months ago I was listening to some music and came across some older songs that I had by Nichole Nordeman.  Her lyrics are so, so good.  She truly has a gift for writing.  So after finding these songs, I decided to download a couple of her albums.  I'm sure I have the CD (or possibly even cassette tape - yep, I know, I'm old) somewhere, but trying to find it between my house here and my dad's house would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.  So I decided to just download them again.  

So back to my drive to the coast this past week.  I normally select one of my playlists and then hit shuffle.  This means that I don't always get to hear all the songs in the list.  But I like the "randomness" of this because I never know what song is coming on next.  But as I have come to find in life, nothing is ever really random.  At least not when you look at it from God's perspective.  So as I was driving down Highway 49, a song came on that I had never heard before.  It's an arrangement of a modern hymn written by Stuart Townend that Nichole Nordeman did on one of her albums.  The words are beautiful and haunting and spoke so clearly to me in that moment.  Each and every lyric is powerful (I'll post them at the end), but the last verse was what struck me...

Why should I gain from His reward,
I cannot give an answer.
But, this, I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Why should I gain from HIS reward?  The past couple of months have brought many good things into my life.  Things I could never have imagined.  God took my prayers, my deepest desires and then amplified them by a million and answered in a way I still cannot explain or comprehend.  And He is STILL working!  I have been so humbled by His goodness and provision.  There are things I cannot humanly explain that have fallen into place and that continue to happen.  There are people who have been placed in my life that have brought so much joy and goodness.  There has been provision that my human mind could never have seen.  And I have done NOTHING to deserve any of it.  

But God's love is like that.  He is faithful even when I am not.  He sent His only Son to die for me, to do what I could never do for myself, to pay my ransom.  Why?  It surely isn't because I've done anything for Him.  It's not that I could ever pay enough for my soul.  It's not that I love Him faithfully.  It's not that I'm good.  Because I haven't, I can't, I don't and I'm not.  But He is and has and can and does.

People come into our life with promises of love.  Parents, friends, spouses, significant others.  And we all mean well when we promise to love someone.  And we do our best.  But it's hard.  We are selfish at times.  We get frustrated.  We choose to only see one side of a situation.  We don't listen completely.  We get tired.  And things build and build and build until there is resentment or anger or we just give up.  But we are human, and the Bible says that God remembers we are dust.  He knows that we can't fulfill any promise of unconditional least not without Him.  And we can't seek to find in another human being what can only be found in Him.  This isn't to say that our human relationships can't work and can't be successful.  But not in our own strength.  He has to be a part of it, the main part, for it to be possible.  I can't seek to find this kind of love in anyone or anything else.  That's a burden to big for any of us to bear in our frail, human frames. This kind of love can only be found in Him for He has promised, and He is faithful to His promises (Hebrews 10:23).  

See, it's nothing that I've done to earn His love.  He loves simply because He is love.  He loves because we are His children, and no matter what we could ever do, His love will never go away.  We can rest in that promise.  Isaiah 32:17-18 says, "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.  My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest."  

Undisturbed places of rest.  This doesn't mean that life will be easy.  That everyone we love will love us in return.  That life won't be hard.  That nothing bad will ever happen.  What it is saying is that God is faithful and will give us undisturbed places of rest.  This means that even when life is raging about us, we can have peace.  Undisturbed peace.  Peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7).  Because we know that whatever life brings, whatever attitude we have, whatever right or wrong we do...God's love is unchanging.  It is faithful.  HE is faithful.

I have no idea what this life will bring.  I know so far it has brought loss, heartache, grief, anger, love, friendship, goodness, bad times, prosperity, lean times, favor, not being favored and everything in between.  But the constant in it all is God's faithful love.  If He loved each of us enough to send His only Son to die and suffer hell so we wouldn't have to, undeserved on our part, what will He not do for us, His children whom He has ransomed and loves?  My hope isn't in my own ability to do well or in another human being or in a circumstance or in money or in anything this life brings. We have to realize this love can only be found in Him.  My hope is in Him and Him alone.  

My prayer is that you will experience His faithful love.  I promise you that even if life gets hard, He will still be there.  I promise you He will never leave.  I promise you He will never stop loving you.  You can have love that is faithful and true.  How deep the Father's love for us...

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

No comments: