God’s Relentless Mercy
I am an apathetic Christian. This is a confession I do not take lightly. I read books written by wonderful authors who are truly on fire for God. I read the Epistles and see how Paul counted his life as nothing, then wonder, “Why don’t I feel like that all the time?” Oh, to be sure, I have my moments. But so often the cares and living of this life just wear me down, I get so tired just coping with the day to day drudgery, God gets lost in there and I go to bed, get up, do what I must, go back to bed and before I know it an entire day has passed and I have not spoken to Him once.
Now realize, I am not talking about the bakery clerk or my neighbor or even my husband, I am talking about He who created the universe! I am talking about a powerful being, one who has so much power I cannot even conceive of it! I am talking about the One who made me, the One who died on a cross so I could be with Him, the One who, no matter how much I ignore Him, no matter what my sins are, be they purposeful or not, continues to pursue me with that wonderful, sometimes frightening, overwhelming message: “I love you, come to Me!” He is there, calling me, holding out His arms to me. Me? “Not now, I’m too busy.” So glib, so foolish. Sometimes, when I take a moment to recognize exactly WHO is calling me, I don’t answer at all, instead I hang my head in shame, a tear may drop and meander down my cheek as I say in a voice filled with shame and unbelievable sadness: “I am not worthy. If only you knew what I have done. I am not worthy.” And I walk away from that offer of total forgiveness, of total agape love, tears running down my face, knowing I am not good enough to be approached by, to look at, and definitely not be a part of His universe.
Have you done that? I think we all have at one point or another. After we have said we were too busy or too sinful what happens? He comes back, doesn’t He? He calls out to you again, He holds his arms out again. If you are quiet and listen you can almost hear Him tell you how precious you are to Him, how He loves you exactly as you are, that He knows all there is to know about you. It is enough to stop you dead in your tracks, to bring you to your knees. You catch your breath, for an instant you feel the beauty and peace of His touch. Then the realities of life call you back as a horn blares or one of the kids starts to cry and you run back to that drudgery we all call life.
It’s so weird, if I am talking to someone about Jesus and following Him, my passion is palpable. Sometimes I even get too intense as I turn from Old to New Testament showing how Jesus has always been with us, how we are in a time of grace that is fast coming to an end, I describe hell, read from Psalms, Proverbs, even Song of Songs so that whoever I am talking to can try to comprehend Christ’s love for us. I usually give too much information and give it so intensely I make the receiver uncomfortable.
I love Jesus, I love and believe in Him so very much. Why am I so lazy about spending time with Him? To a point it is so very me. I tend to care about and love people from a distance. I don’t get to close to anyone, not my bestest BFF from school, not my BFF from church. They usually have to chase me down. I don’t know why; it is certainly not that I enjoy my own company so much. More than anything else, I guess it is fear of rejection. Ok, insecurities. But I don’t have to be insecure in Christ, did He not say,
“2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:2-5
There is one thing we have forgotten. We can turn this life from drudgery into joy! He will lighten our loads, put a spring in our step. The same chores will be there, but somehow, with Him at our side, they seem lighter. But we have allowed the cares of this life to eclipse the most important thing of all, our relationship with our God and our Savior. So, does He walk away and go to someone else? No! He is determined, His love for each of us is so deep He does not stop, He does not rest, until as little children, we are enfolded into the loving care of His arms.
His pursuit of us is relentless. I kind of liken it to something once said in “Terminator: when Kyle Reese told a very frightened Sarah Connor:
"Listen and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead."
Jesus has something better than pity, He has empathy. He knows where we are coming from, He understands our pain, our hurt, our hopes and dreams, our temptations, even our sins. Just like a true lover, He looks past all of it, He sees only the person He loves so dearly He died for them. You can’t bargain with Jesus, He knows your yesterday, your today, your tomorrow. Jesus has no fear, there is nothing He needs to fear. He made it all, He can break it all!. He will absolutely never stop until you are dead. Once you have moved to that phase of life, your eternity is set. He either welcomes you home or says, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
Which words do you want to hear? “Welcome home, good and faithful servant” or “Depart from me …” .
I spent some time pondering about eternity the other night. I just finished an article about what heaven is really like. I was trying, as best as my finite mind can, to grasp the idea of eternity. For some reason I pictured hell. The burning, the pain, but what eclipsed everything was the total absence of that love I have felt all my life. Jesus was nowhere. Nowhere. Then the horror fell on me. This pain, this aloneness was never, ever, ever going to stop. There would be no rescue, there would be no gentle voice calling to me, just the horrendous screams of others who were also there. Behind it all was the almost maniacal laughter of the lost one himself, Satan. This would never end. I couldn’t even begin to grasp what that meant but I knew after ten thousand years of this pain, it would continue, for another ten thousand, and another ten thousand after that and for the first time in my existence I felt a total loss of hope, I came face to face with complete and utter despair. Then I realized I had put myself in this position.
All I had to have done was say “Yes” when Jesus would call to me and hold out His arms, but I was “too busy” or too cool to give him an answer. Now, NOW I understood why He had been so relentless in His approach. He knew what my future would be, He has tried oh so very hard, but me and my “oh so cool” free will chose and chose very poorly. NOW I understood, when it is too late.
I woke up from my reverie, cold chills ran down my spine. I prayed desperately, as a drowning woman, “Please God, oh please, don’t let me go there. Oh please, forgive my sins. Oh please take my will, take all of me, don’t let me go. I am so scared, I know I should go there. Please, please, please don’t let me go there.” I almost sobbed the words out.
Jesus came, He comforted me, held me in His lap, reminded me how easy it would be to start my day with him, easier yet to end my day with him. Heck, I don’t even really enjoy the stupid TV shows I watch and my puttering on the computer is just a way to pass the time. Why not put all that wasted time into Him? He was right. So what do I do now? Watch stupid television shows and putter aimlessly on my computer.
So, I am not proud to say it but I am an apathetic Christian who needs to be turned on, plugged in and tuned up. I thought to look at the relentless mercy, grace, and love Jesus offers us, of His Relentless Love and as we begin to better understand, and truly fall in love with the true Master and Maker of the Universe.
I read Genesis and saw how from generation to generation humankind was more interested in their here and now than in their Creator. So we from what I can see, even with the benefit of the New Testament, we have not grown a whole lot. What is real, what is necessary for each of us to have the peace in our hearts and souls that we crave is not through things, or stuff, or that new car, or promotion at work; it is getting ourselves right with our Creator.
It is my simple hope that this testimony brings some closer to Jesus Christ, to a saving walk with our creator and savior. As relentless as His love is for us, we must be as relentless in following Him, in spending time with Him, seeking His wisdom and Grace.