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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Unfailing love

Last night I did a Beth Moore Bible study on the topic of unfailing love. It's taken me two years to get to Week Eight of Breaking Free, but I keep plugging away. And quitting. And going back again. God has to show me over and over in real life before the words in this study make it into my heart.

The whole idea of living free and especially grasping the truth of unfailing love is a tough one. Before this week I don’t think I could have really processed the little that I did last night. I’m so glad God is Sovereign and cares that I read the right thing at the right time for it to burrow deep into my soul.

Not only that, but He also orders my circumstances to make sure I don’t miss a thing. Even when I wish He wouldn’t.

It’s been a tough few days around my home. Make that a tough few weeks, and really, a tough few years. Looking at it objectively, there have been some wonderful good times and some horrendous bad times. Lately it feels like the tide has turned back to more of the bad than good. But I think that’s actually a function of my attitude more than it is the “facts” about each day.

God is using it all to drive home a point about unfailing love.

I can’t get it from my husband.

I can’t get it from my children.

I can’t get it from my friends.

I can’t get it from my writing.

And I can’t even force God to prove it.

That hit me like a load of bricks today. Me, try to force God to prove He loves me??? Yep.

Unfortunately, that being two before God thing doesn’t always mean I’m cuddly and sweet and coming to Him like an adoring child. I think I’m a lot more like a two-year-old tantrum than I wanted to admit.

So God had to shine the light and hold a mirror in my direction once again.

And He worked through one of His favorite means in my life… my girls. Not just my three little princesses, but also my Bible study girls. One of which sent me an email today talking about the deadness she felt inside. All I could think to say in response was, “Me too.”

So that’s what I typed. But my conscious wouldn’t leave me alone. Just commiserating about how life sucks isn’t what God gave me words to do. Sure it’s important to bear one another’s burdens and weep with those who weep. That’s what I started doing, but it wasn’t enough.

And maybe nothing I said will be enough. But I’m praying what God started to show me as I typed will be. If nothing else I hope it will plant a seed.

This young lady is precious to me, as are all my Bible study girls and the seniors I teach on Sundays. But the one who emailed me today is unique in that God seems to be walking us down similar paths. It’s humbling to write with the intent of encouraging and teaching only to end up realizing I’m the student.

I didn’t start my email response to her with the purpose of teaching. My only thought was to let her know I’m right there with her. But I couldn’t stop typing once I started, because God got a hold of my heart.

I remembered my Bible study last night on unfailing love and it hit me that I'm feeling numb inside because I shut myself down. Because I'm so tired of my own failure and the hurt from other people failing me. I'm even a little angry with God for not answering prayers and changing things I've begged Him to change for a long while now.

There’s that forcing God to prove He loves me. I didn’t realize it, but I was saying in effect…

Heal my body and I’ll believe You love me.

Heal my marriage and I’ll believe You love me.

Give me a book contract and I’ll believe You love me.

God says simply, “I love you with an unfailing love.” Period.

No conditions.

Just the Cross.

And His Word.

Proverbs 19:22 “What a man desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.”

Proverbs 20:6 “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?”

Every human alive longs for, desires, and is so hungry to have unfailing love that we'll do anything just to get a taste. Even numb out as a way to deny the pain when this need feels unfulfilled.

But only God is capable of unfailing love. In fact the Biblical words for unfailing/ agape love ONLY refer to God. We humans can't muster or get "holy" enough to love that way. And no human can love us that way all the time. We all fail. We fail to love and be loved well.

But God doesn't. He loves anyway. No matter the sin. No matter the anger. No matter the deadness inside. No matter what I perceive as unanswered prayers.

Those “unanswered prayers” are one way God got my attention to see that the fight I’m to fight isn’t about forcing Him to prove He loves me. Or to get others to love me the way I want to be loved.

It’s the fight of faith that counts. The fight to believe the truth. And walk in it.

The fight that runs to God believing that God and God alone is the only one capable of unfailing love.

We either fight the fight of faith and keep fighting or we try to deaden our hearts a little more every day. If we fight, there will be times of rest, times of healing, and- ultimately... finally...in God's perfect time - complete rest, healing, and peace.

But if we give up and deaden our hearts, what is there? No hope. No possibility of joy. Nothing. That's where the enemy wants us to stay. Because he knows who we were created to be and he fears us.

Love and joy and faith are painful. No two ways about that. But inner deadness isn't really death. It's self-protection. And it doesn’t work.

As I finished up the email to my friend, I was reminded self-protectiveness is a sin because it's denying God's rightful place in my life. He's my Protector and Comforter. He's Daddy and Mommy; Strength and Peace. He's everything I need. And it’s God, and God alone, that loves me with unfailing love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God is not rude, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.”

Jeremiah 31:3 "I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

Period.

Exclamation mark!

Unfailing love.

Not only is God’s love exactly what I need… it’s what I want, what I desire too.

What about you?

6 comments:

HeyJules said...

Ms. Amy, may I just say that that is probably the most honest thing I think you've ever written.

When I read your post about wanting to be healed I thought to myself, "Oh I hope she's not testing God with this." How did I know that might be what you were doing? Because I've recently caught myself doing it, too.

Unfailing Love. It IS what sets God apart from everything else we experience as humans. Our children, our spouses, our friends - they will ALL let us down in their battles with their sin just as we will let them down at times. Take away everything else but you still have a God who is nothing if not love. Unfailing Love. Pure Love. All Love.

It is at the root of all things what we crave and hunt for our whole human lives. We just keep forgetting that God is the only one that can provide it.

What a big step for you that you have finally figured this out. Be blessed, my friend.

Amy Wallace said...

Jules,

Thank you so much for your post. I hope people check out the comments because you add so much to what I try to say and sum things up so well!

You know, I really didn't delve into the desire to be healed thinking to test God. But His delayed answers have forced me to look deeper. I'm glad. Well, most of the time anyway. ;-)

Right now, I still believe He can heal me, but that's becoming less and less important in light of His unfailing love.

Now I just have to remember what I've learned so far!

Thank you for continuing to challenge and encourage me! Many blessings, my friend!

Amy

Sally said...

Amy, I love reading your blog! It is such an encouragement to me! I am walking in a similar valley as you are and you are two steps ahead of me pulling me up as you go! Thank you! God uses you to bless me every single day!!

Amy Wallace said...

Sally,

What an encouragement you are to my heart! In fact, I've ready your post a number of times and it never ceases to amaze me that God uses my words to touch others. I'm so glad! Even more so when it's a dear friend who is blessed.

Amy

upwords said...

This was great, Amy. So very true.
mary

Amy Wallace said...

Thanks again, Mary! It touches my heart to know you are reading here and being encouraged.

Amy

 
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