Wow, lots of scripture to read today. The readings seem to be about God’s promises, Joseph’s character and good news. In 2 Samuel, God tells Nathan to tell David that his throne shall stand firm forever. The psalmist proclaims, the promises of the Lord I will sing forever. In Romans, Paul speaks of God’s promise to Abraham. In Matthew, we see Joseph’s obedience to God. And in Luke, we hear the story of Mary and Joseph searching Jerusalem for the young boy Jesus.
Have you ever met someone who said they could not believe in a loving God because of all the pain in the world? I did a while back and, sadly, I did not know what to say. That was before my knee surgery. Now I know. I had knee surgery about a month ago. The day after surgery, I felt great. I decided I did not need crutches. Why, I should just be able to get up and walk. The drugs had not worn off yet. What a mistake! The next day my knee looked like a basketball, I was crying like a little girl and I was begging for pain pills. Okay, not quite that bad, but it was pretty enlightening. As much as we try to avoid pain (try watching TV and not hear about pain relief products), pain has a purpose. It tells us when there is a problem. It tells us when we should stop doing something. And pain is often the result of our own actions (or those of someone around us). Despite my pain, I was pretty sure God still loved me.
How can I be sure God loves me? It’s Lent. A season where we can take some time and look at ourselves, at God and evaluate our relationship with God. Do I love God? Am I obedient to God? Am I giving God and his Word enough of my time? Am I serving God and man? Am I open to new directions or nudges from the Holy Spirit? Does God really love me?
I was thinking the other day about how much God loves us. It’s quite amazing when you stop and really think about it. Jesus came down from heaven to earth. Not as a ruler or king, but as a baby. He gave up the comfort of heaven to endure the scrapes, bumps, parental scoldings and general pain that all of us endure in the process of growing up. And it doesn’t get better. Jesus would be rejected and killed by the very people he came to save.
If tonight, God came to me and said, “Dan, I want you to leave the comfort of your home and go to these people I love. They live in some pretty bad conditions. I want you to tell them the good news that I love them, though they may not want to hear what you have to say. I want you to live as a model for them, though they may reject you and kill you. What do you say, Dan?” I think I would say, “Lord, how much do you love these people?”
It seems there is plenty of bad news to go around in the world today. Debt, war, loss of jobs, foreclosures, bad economy, etc. The bombardment of bad news from the media is unrelenting. Where is the hope? Where is the good news? Well, how about God so loved the world that he sent his only son to save the world. How about God really loves you. Now that’s some good news.
My prayer today is for those of us who need to be reassured that God truly loves us. May this Lenten season be fruitful and full of hope.
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