Back in 2007 (ish) I first heard the song How He Loves. (If you’ve ever felt really, really angry with God, you should totally check out that link by the way) It was during this song that I prayed to receive Christ for the first time. I was moved to tears by the lyrics, by the imagery, and by this verse in particular –
How beautiful a concept is that?
Todd and I try to make it a priority to see the ocean once a year, and I am never more in awe of God’s creation as I am when I stare out at the ocean. The vastness, the expansiveness, the beauty of it – it’s magnificent and inspiring and awesome.
Hearing that verse, and imagining God’s grace in that way was – and still is – an incredibly powerful way for me to view Him. To know that He is a God that offers all encompassing love, all encompassing forgiveness, all encompassing compassion.
English theologian Richard Sibbes once said, “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.”
Don’t you just love that?
It’s easy to keep score. In our own lives, in the lives of others – to pull out that invisible little checklist we all secretly keep in our heads. To record a black mark when we screw up, when our friends screw up, when people we trust screw up. And if you’ve been immersed in a religion or culture that pushes works as a value over grace, that’s a hard habit or thought process to get past.
But the truth is we ARE all sinners, each and every one of us. And the even greater truth is that God knows us intimately and He still offers each one of us that all encompassing, as big as the ocean kind of grace, love and forgiveness.
One of the things I love most about being a parent is the real life glimpse I get into what God’s love must be like.
I’ve held, nursed & cared for 3 newborns in my life and here’s what I know. Babies need their mothers. There is something primal about a newborn’s need to be held close by a mother. In the last 10 days of Declan’s life, I have observed – again – how he is most easily calmed simply by me stopping what I am doing to nurse him, tuck him inside my shirt for a little skin to skin time, or wear him in a wrap close to my chest.
In Isaiah 49:15 it says:
“Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but <span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>I will not forget you.
16 Behold, I have <span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your <span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>walls are continually before Me.”
I love the imagery in this verse – how God compares His love to that of a mother and then takes it a step further by explaining that even if a mother’s love fails her child, His love will not. His love never fails, He will never forget us and He will never give up on us.
How powerful is that? How incredible a promise to consider. It’s hard for me even comprehend that, because the love I feel for my own children is a crazy big kind of love and God’s love is bigger.
There aren’t many times in life that ‘sinking’ could be thought of as a positive. If you’re sinking, it’s usually a bad thing. But sinking into God’s grace, into His love can offer you peace and rest. It can and should calm your fears, your uncertainty and your guilt. Sink into it and embrace it. Offer it to those around you.
And remember the promise that God has given you – He knows you more intimately than a nursing mother knows her child and He has inscribed you on the palms of His hands. He will not forget you.