Not too long ago, my youngest thought she would play a joke on her brother. It was a bad idea, and ended up backfiring horribly, requiring a little parental intervention. We talked and moments later, when I thought it was all over, she dissolved into tears. When I asked her why she said, “You’re disappointed in me.”
But, that wasn’t what I said. In fact I was very careful not to say those words because of the effect they can have. I was disappointed with the choice she made. Just hours before, I told her I loved her and I was so glad she was mine. Swallowed up by shame, those words were a distant memory.
Of course, the lesson, the application here made itself plainly obvious even before my little one slid off my lap. I reflexively embrace shame rather than grace and delight. I am all too quick to believe, and all too certain that God is disappointed with me, with who I am. I am far too quick to forget His gentle words of love, His kind assurances and His boundless love.
God is not fickle. His love is not performance-based. It doesn’t wax or wane based on how many commandments I keep in a day. It is complete and absolute. He loved me from eternity past. He pursued me and drew me to Him. That will not change. It cannot change.
This is the God who provided for Adam and Eve, the God who wept over Jerusalem, the God who took on flesh to die in my place. The evidence of His love is overwhelming. Except in my imagination. In those moments, just like the little snuggled on my lap, I can’t rely on what I think or what I feel. I have to rest in what He said. He said, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.”