I hope I can clearly say what I am feeling tonight. I want to talk with you about the love of God, but God's love is so very vast, so magnificent and so powerful that I'm not sure how I can even come within a fraction of even touching on how much God loves you. How He loves us, His creation. What has stirred these recent thoughts within me is a fairly new song by Kari Jobe. For those of you not familiar with Kari's music, she is an extremely talented and anointed worship leader who has the gift to be able to bring you more deeply into God's presence just by listening to her songs. She appears to be very humble and sincere and you get that sense just by watching or listening to her sing. "You are for Me" is a tender song that talks about God's faithfulness, steadfastness God's love towards those who love Him. As I listened to this song a couple of nights ago, my heart began to break for people who think that God is mad and angry either with them or with the nation. God is not mad. God is full of love.
Over the past several years whenever there has been a huge disaster like 911 or Katrina, you often hear certain preachers talk about how God is judging, or pouring out His wrath on America. Now while I respect the man and the opinion, I find myself questioning that approach to disasters with much concern. I think it breeds the wrong message. Is that the nature of God? We do see the judgement of God quite often under the old covenant; before Christ. We see God wiping out nations and threatening Israel for their unfaithfulness going back to when they were wandering around the desert. The prophets warned over and over of the judgement and wrath of God.
But then something happened. The incarnation. Jesus happened. The cross happened. I believe that changed everything. Before Christ there was nothing that blocked God's eyes from staring directly with anger at His people when they sinned. But then we had the Great Exchange. The price was paid. Now I know that God still hates sin. I'm sure it makes Him angry and we need to knock sin out of our lives. We still need to do our part, but when God looks at our sin, there is a filter. A filter of red. The blood of Jesus. The trail of blood left by the Messiah that began in the garden when He wept. Have you ever really thought about how the pouring out of Jesus blood began when He prayed with so much agony in the garden? Luke records how Jesus sweat "became like great drops of blood falling to the ground." It started in the garden and those first drops were not in vain. It is because of that blood and for this reason that I find it so hard to believe that things like 911 or Katrina are God's wrath being poured out. Romans 5 is a great chapter which speaks of God's love. The entire chapter is excellent, but I will highlight for you verses 6-9: "When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's judgment." (New Living Translation) Did you catch the end of that passage? The New King James says it this way: "...,we shall be saved from wrath through Him." The Greek word for saved (sozo) in that verse means much more than just being saved from eternal judgement. Perhaps one day we will talk about the word sozo, but not this time. This time is to share the love of God.
There is a lot of ugly in this world. Sometimes there are people that don't even act human by performing hideous acts and crimes. Mixed in with that ugly, though, are a lot of people ready to rise up under the banner of Jesus Christ and proclaim the good news of our God. God's love is powerful and piercing. It cannot be overpowered by sin. The word for this kind of love is "agape" and agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world. If we can begin to really grasp what this love is all about it will change lives. If we carry it out to the streets it will begin to change people and people will change cities and cities will change states and states will change a nation. In spite of what some may say, this nation is not going down. No, not yet. Because of people like you and me this nation is going to be turned upside down as we walk in the power of God's love. We are on the verge of the next Great Awakening as more and more people experience for the very first time the force that is behind God's love.
And this great love is for you. Maybe it even starts with you. Intimately for you. (And if you are a tough guy reading this, get over it. God wants to shower His love over you, too.) God's gaze is so full of love for you. You are the apple of His eye. Do you need to be reminded of that? To borrow a thought from Kari Jobe, I want to remind you that God is so passionately and madly in love with you; He's not mad at you. No matter what level your faith is at, sometimes we all need to be reminded of that. A couple of nights ago, as I watched and listened to Kari sing "You are for me," I couldn't contain the tears that welled up in my eyes. You see, I too, need to be reminded that God's love will never let me go. I need to be reminded that God is indeed for me and that He is faithful and ever present, even when it doesn't feel that way. Sometimes it is just so good and right to let your guard down and just fall into His presence. May you allow that to happen to you now and in fact know that it is happening. Kari's video can be played at the end of this writing. Watch it and experience His warmth and love as it pours all over you!