Lenten Devotional, 2/29/2012


Wednesday, February 29

A Love That Never Ends

For I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God's love in  Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.
-- Romans 8: 38-39

All the persons of faith I know are sinners, doubters,
uneven performers. We are secure not because we are sure
of ourselves but because we trust that God is sure of us.
-- Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

"Does God like you?" I asked a five-year-old little girl. She stifled a grin.
She is a compassionate soul. "Yep," she said easily, confidently, certainly.
"How do you know?" "Because of the way he talks to me. He just
likes me. I recognize it in his voice."
-- Robert Bensen, Between Dreaming and the Coming True

I will not leave you alone. You are mine. I know each
of my sheep by name. You belong to me. If you think I am finished with
you, if you think I am a small god that you can keep at a safe distance,
I will pounce upon you like a roaring lion, tear you to pieces, rip you to shreds,
and break every bone in your body. Then I will mend you,
cradle you in my arms, and kiss you tenderly.
-- Brennan Manning, Lion and Lamb 

My experience has been that God loves us with a love that will not let us go. As Paul so eloquently tells us in Romans 8, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing. Neither failure, disappointment, inadequate prayer, poor church attendance, guilt, weakness, just to name a few. God loves us even when we wish God didn't. God loves us even when we act unloving toward others. Which is to say, when we don't act like Christians. When our lives are a mess, God loves us. God's love is persistent, resistant to rejection, and extravagant. (See Matthew 13, the parable of the sower.)

My experience has also taught me that life is complicated. Schedules are hectic. Following Jesus is often not easy, nor is it easy to hear God's voice in the noisiness of our lives. May we hear God's voice in the unfinished, incomplete places of our lives.  For He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it in you. -- Bill McAlilly

O God, in these days of Lent as we journey toward the cross and to the empty tomb, do not let us go. In the uneven places of our lives, God, show us that you make us whole. Give to us that deep sense of assurance and pardon as we seek your face. Open us that we might hear clearly a deep word of forgiveness and love. Amen.

Bill McAlilly is the District Superintendent of the Seashore District.

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