Loyal Love

We use the word “love” a lot nowadays. From the deepest relationship love to the most casual, “Girl! I love your shoes!”, the word love is often on our lips. Everyone is in the habit of saying “Love you!” at the end of a phone call. Have you ever embarrassed yourself by signing off on a call with that familiar phrase, only to remember that you were talking to the lady at the water department? I have!

What are some things that you love? It might be a favorite sports team, a pet, your children/parents/spouse, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies … we are blessed to have a list of things we love with all our hearts. I recently preached a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13, the famous ”love passage,” and found a lovely illustration on children’s thoughts on love. One young girl explained that love is like when her grandmother got arthritis, preventing her from being able to bend over to paint her toenails, her grandfather started doing it for her, even though he has arthritis in his hands. That is loyal love, my friends.

David wrote a beautiful psalm about his love for God, and God’s love for him. David knew God intimately, and these words reflect the depth of David’s appreciation and understanding for a God who loves us with a deep and abiding love:

Psalm 138 (Common English Bible)

I give thanks to you with all my heart, Lord.
    I sing your praise before all other gods.
I bow toward your holy temple
    and thank your name
    for your loyal love and faithfulness
        because you have made your name and word
        greater than everything else.
On the day I cried out, you answered me.
    You encouraged me with inner strength.

Let’s pause there a moment and think of God’s love for us. David describes it as ”loyal love and faithfulness.” I agree with that. Too often, as we go about our day, we neglect to show God the appreciation that he is due. This Psalm is a good reminder that whenever we cry out, God answers us.

Do you need to cry out to God today? He is always listening.

Let all the earth’s rulers give thanks to you, Lord,
    when they hear what you say.
Let them sing about the Lord’s ways
    because the Lord’s glory is so great!
Even though the Lord is high,
    he can still see the lowly,
    but God keeps his distance from the arrogant.

I know a young man who is extremely arrogant. His over-inflated sense of self-worth led him down some dangerous paths as he sought to feed his insatiable ego. Then came a life-changing downfall. Did God abandon him? No. Did God keep his distance? You bet.

Whenever I am in deep trouble,
    you make me live again;
    you send your power against my enemies’ wrath;
    you save me with your strong hand.
The Lord will do all this for my sake.

So here is the good news for that young man, and for us as well. David writes that whenever he was in deep trouble, God provided the strength to get out of his situation. The problem with arrogance is that we think we have it all under control, and so we don’t seek God’s help. Arrogance prevents us from being willing to yield to God’s will. But when we lay down our egos, God can come in.

Your faithful love lasts forever, Lord!
    Don’t let go of what your hands
    have made.

I love that last line … don’t let go. You see, even in our most despicable times, God may distance himself from our sin, but he NEVER LETS GO. His reach is beyond measure and his love is loyal and faithful.

I hope that gives you encouragement today. If you have gotten too ”full of yourself,” you can always repent and return. When you do, you’ll find that God had his long arm extended with his sure grasp on your shoulder the whole time. Thanks be to God!

God Never Lets Go by Michelle Robertson