Thursday, December 14, 2017

I Worship A God Who Continually Woos Us

Hey Friend,

I said I was going to take a break from blogging, but this post just came to me so distinctly and clearly that my mind wouldn't rest until I wrote it down.  So here I am to share what God shared with me in the midst and mystery of Advent.

My son has been distant lately.  It's not angry distant, or belligerent distant. As far as I know, we're okay, but I simply don't hear from him, nor does he respond to "Hey how are ya?" texts.  Christmas is approaching and I'm not sure what all this means.  I found myself thinking in my head....why would he be so distant from someone (me), who he knows, loves him to pieces?

The thought was no sooner out of my head, when I heard God whisper, "Now you have an inkling of how I feel..."  That hit me powerfully.  Here is God, who has loved us since before time began, who has given us every good gift we have, whose only real desire is to be in relationship with us, who loves us to pieces and makes himself available whenever we have a moment for Him, and what do we do?  We distance ourselves.  We claim we're too busy.  We get caught up in the world's hierarchy of importance.  We get lazy and binge watch Netflix or surf the web.  Meanwhile God is wondering....why are they so distant from me when they know I love them to pieces?

God gave me a glimpse into His world that morning.  Thankfully, though, He doesn't react in human terms.  This is the mystery of God.

The image that came to mind is of God wooing us.  Like a young lover woos the apple of his eye, God woos us.  He pursues; He lavishes attention; He's patient and continually goes after the prize.  The Bible resounds with the imagery of Jesus (part of the Godhead) being the groom, and we (his people, the church) being His beloved bride.  God is the groom who never stops loving.

In our world, if the lover woos and pursues but is continually put off or spurned, he eventually loses hope, maybe even gets angry, and gives up.  God is not like that.  He isn't put off. He doesn't get disheartened or angry....He just keeps pursuing and wooing us.  He does this even when we are downright nasty and ugly.

Our God is a covenant God - He makes promises and sticks to them.

Some theologians believe that The Ten Commandments were actually two duplicate stones (written by the very finger of God).  One copy for us, His intended, and a copy for Himself.

I admit that I've always thought of The Ten Commandments as more of a legal code than a covenant to love.  But, I love how Ann Voskamp talks about them... more like a whisper of God's love to us in her book, "The Greatest Gift": 

"The Ten Commandments are more than God saying, "Here is My Law for you" - they are God saying, "Here is My love for you."

"Here I take you to be Mine, to be my treasured possession - have  no other gods, no other lovers that woo you, that take your attention or affection but me.

Here, I give you My name, my very name to make you mine - do not use it in vain.

Here, I long to spend time with you, holy time for you and Me - set apart the Sabbath day as holy time for you and Me....."   (end)

The Ten Commandments are a command to a loving, covenant, relationship.

Could we follow ten commands?  No, we turned away, disobeyed, busied ourselves with other idols and ideologies....

So in the New Testament, God puts on flesh to reach out and woo in love again.  Who can resist a tiny, helpless, infant babe, with little rolls and creases in his skin?  With tiny fingers that grasp yours and rosy cherub cheeks that beg to be kissed.  Who could resist this love?  

The same love that grew to hang out with the prostitutes and tax collectors, who made the blind to see and the lame to walk.  He wooed with patience and gentleness and kindness in a world where there was none.  But, yet we still rejected Him.  He came to save and once again we turned our backs.

I am so glad I worship a God whose patience is long suffering and who continually woos us no matter what.

No matter what your past, He woos you.  No matter how far down the prodigal path you've gone, He stands at the gate waiting to run to you when you return.  No matter how angry you are with Him, His shoulders are big enough to handle it.  No matter how many times you spurn Him, turn you back on Him, ignore Him, or distance yourself from Him, He still pursues you with a furious love and continues to woo you. When you cry in despair, He cries with you and catches your tears.  Quite simply, He loves you!

Why??  Because He wants nothing more than to be in relationship with the wonderful creation (you) that He made...the one He designed and knew before the universe came into being.  That's why.  

This Christmas, I've thought of what I could give back to a God who continues to woo me and lavish His mercy and grace upon me.  I think the answer is pretty simple. I will give Him what He wants....a covenant and genuine relationship with me which includes time spent.  What will you give Him?

Dear Heavenly Father,  I thank you so much that throughout time you never gave up on us.  You continually extended your hand in love to us and we disobeyed and turned away from you.  You gave us your only Son, in flesh and blood, for us to be able to relate to, yet we spurned Him and yelled to crucify Him.  Blessed are you who are faithful to your covenants of love that you make with us.  You never ever give up on us.  You continue to woo us (me).  You continue to pursue and persevere in order that we might see that we are, indeed, the apple of your eye.  Help us to see the same value in ourselves that you place on us.  If you pursue us this persistently, then we must really be of great worth.  Help that message to sink in and help us to give you what YOU would really like to receive for Christmas....real relationship.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Do you believe that God continually woos you and pursues you with His love?  If not, why not?  Do you believe what the scriptures say about how much God loves you?  Do you believe that these words were written to YOU, not just to other people?  What can you give back to God this Christmas?  What might He be wanting from you?

Be blessed.....again I will say that I'm taking a break, but am open to what God has in mind. 

ps.  After publishing this post....I got a call from my son that very day and we got together.  Thank you for your prayers.....prayer works!

 May you have a blessed Christmas and joy in the knowledge that you are furiously and passionately loved.... Bev