"The Eternal Voyage"
One of the challenges of knowing God's everlasting, measureless love involves the truth that His care for us always involves our best interests. This includes both gentleness and firmness, as necessary.
"How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings" (Psalm 36:7).
"He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24).
In our present life, we require the loving administration of blessing and buffeting. God's lovingkindness confirms His devotion because we rightly understand that our Heavenly Father desires to please our hearts whenever possible. "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Conversely, the challenges He applies or allows may cause us at times to wonder about His love. We may not directly question God's devotion, but difficulty can tempt us with a nagging sense of doubt regarding His perfect and loving way. This can paralyze our walk with the Lord in those troubled times when we most require knowing His dedication to our best interests. Indeed, the David who affirmed God as "a very present help in trouble" nevertheless cried out in anguish during a particularly painful challenge. "Why standest Thou afar off, o Lord? Why hidest Thyself in times of trouble?" (Psalm 46:1; 10:1).
As mentioned in Part 1, we must avail ourselves of the spiritually nurturing gifts provided by God whereby we grow in the confidence of His love. The Scriptures, prayer, fellowship with devoted believers, and expectation of our Lord's loving devotion serve to prepare for enjoyment of His blessings, and trusting Him in buffetings. We will one day discover that the latter way was no less the measureless, timeless love of God than the former. Presently, however, the Hand that bears the rod feels less loving than the Hand that provides pleasant bestowals of grace. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous" (Hebrews 12:11).
The eternal, measureless love of God means by definition that He perfectly loves at all times. He never in the smallest way swerves from being who He is, and doing what He does. Thus, our Heavenly Father always does that which is best for us, in accordance with the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. When possible, He blesses in a manner that clearly confirms His devotion. When necessary, He administers or allows buffeting that no less originates in His love, but may seem something less or something other. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" declared the Lord to Israel (Jeremiah 31:3). Thus, when He graced Israel with abundant blessedness, or when He chastened the nation with necessary hardness (as in the present dispensation), all proceeds from God's love for His earthly people (Romans 11:11-36). The same is true of His church, and we can and must trust our Father's heart when we cannot understand His hand. Everlasting. Measureless. We continue our eternal voyage in the assurance of God's abiding character, nature, and way of committed love for His trusting children…
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Weekly Memory Verse
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
(II Timothy 2:23)