In case some of you did not know, gathering and just worshiping God is one, if not, my favorite thing to do. On a recent Monday evening, my mentor took me to an all women’s worship service. How He loves was one of the songs we sang. It’s not new. It’s a fairly popular song. I mean, its THE song you sing when you can’t think of a song to sing during a random worship session. This is a beautiful song. It takes our perceptions of love–that it’s easy, it’s cute, and its clean –and it tears them apart by showing us (not just how much) but how God loves us.
If you’re anything like me, singing that God loves us feels great! So the chorus used to be my favorite part of this song. Until God showed me the real message in the verses; the character of His love — the why and the how of it.
He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree.
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realize just how beautiful you are.
And how great your affections are for me.
Think of the worst hurricane you’ve heard of. Now imagine you living in the middle of it and no one knowing exactly how long the wind’s been blowing, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. If we truly felt the weight of God’s love for us, we couldn’t stand up under it. No matter how we fight it, his love is relentless – we bend and fold under it until it consumes us.
And then we see God’s glory and all of our afflictions are overwhelmingly covered, eclipsed, by it through God’s goodness and grace. Afflictions could mean sins, relationship problems, diseases, or identity issues. Whatever your afflictions are God is more that sufficient to cover them. How amazing is that?!
How does God love?
And oh, how He loves us so.
Oh, how He loves us.
How He loves us all.
His love is unfailing. His love is reliable. He loves us in the way we need to be loved – enough to save us, so we can rely on that love, because we can’t be saved any other way. He loves us completely and perfectly, in a way to draw us in through our submission, not to intimidate us into trying to earn salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). He loved us first, and continues to love us even when we don’t love Him. Even when we turn our backs, He will always love us first.
The words to the chorus are a good reminder of God’s love for us, but the next verse allows us to further discover His character.
And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eye,
God chose us first, and because of that we can be reconciled by Him. We’re drawn by his grace and love. He is our prize. The Lord guided, fed, and cared for his people in the desert. He is what we strive for. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Paul wrote about athletes running a race. Paul wrote, “They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” Jesus is our risen from the dead, imperishable, eternal prize. Paul also wrote in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Jesus attained it for us, because we couldn’t.
If grace is an Ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
And I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way…
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking. We are constantly flooded by God’s grace. Since God desires us, He gives us the grace we need to be with Him forever. And then there’s the part of the unforeseen kiss. I think of Judas, betraying Jesus by brushing his lips against the cheek of his master. But Jesus endured the dirty cross so He could spend eternity with lost, gross, sin-soaked people who have nothing but filthy rags to offer Him. And we often hoard even those rags from Him. I also think of myself during anger and sin — when I have a hard time believing that God is there, loving me. And then he reminds me of who He is and who I am in Him – gently, like a kiss.
This is my favorite love story. God’s pursuit of us is wonderful. Our only natural reaction is for our hearts to turn violently inside our chests, an outpouring of deepest joy from the core. And when we get His love for us, it consumes us. There’s no time or need to dwell on our past sins or shortcomings because God’s love and grace cover all of time.
Huge shout out to Krista for being an awesome mentor and Juan Pablo for not only being a great site coordinator, but pushing me to see God in the midst of feeling lost.