Friday

Overwhelmed



I wanted today to experience the Love of God. While I often talk and teach about loving God and living out that love through obedience to Him, I rarely think about experiencing His love. Sad how little I do that.

This morning I saw a quote by Henri Nouwen, "The question is not, 'How am I to love God?' but, 'How am I to let myself be loved by God?" At first blush I was taken aback because I focus so much on God's glory or on loving God, on enjoying Him, on serving Him, on being transformed by Him that, well, frankly, I think I miss the point.

Engraved inside my wedding band is 1 John 4:19, "We love, because He first loved us." We put it there because only God's love of Jenny and I enables us to love one another as God desires. We put it there on purpose, and I in focusing on the daily, neglect to remember.

I came before the Lord today and asked Him to help me experience His love. I wanted to be overwhelmed by Him, by His love. Have you ever been overwhelmed? It means to be overcome, overpowered, to be defeated completely, engulfed by irresistible force. It comes from a Middle English word which means to be turned upside down and submerged completely. I wanted to be sunk in God's love. Utterly filled by it.

I did what I often do when I am seeking the Lord and turned to Psalms. Psalm 31, "Into Your hand I commit my spirit," says David. "You have ransomed me, oh LORD, God of truth."

Someone quoted that one dark afternoon a very long time ago. Jesus said those words as He breathed out His life to ransom us from sin and from death. Oh, what love compelled Him! It was because He loves us! For no other motivation did God plan our salvation than that He loves us with this beautiful, terrifying, engulfing love. Love that defeats my pride and overcomes our sin. For God so loved the world...

Overwhelming.

I did what any missionary/minister/lover does when their boat is swamped: I wept. Aching sobs. The tears of one overcome not by fear or hate or pain or loss, but love. The tears Peter wept when he denied his Lord and then saw His face. Then saw Him die to ransom him. The love that makes a man run to see the empty tomb. The love that makes a man leap out of a boat and swim where Jesus stands.  The love that calls to the man who denied Him and makes him breakfast.  Never stopping, never giving up, un-breaking, always and forever love.

God does not overwhelm us with love then leave us upside down. He utterly defeats our pride and leaves us with Him alone. He confronts all our failure and treason and insipid selfishness with a tsunami and pulls out all our unrighteousness and drowns it in the sea of His love. Unlike an earthly tsunami, He leaves us not destroyed, but new.

Tears abated and instead of empty, I felt full. Grateful. Thankful. Merciful. Beautiful. Bountiful. Graceful. Because that is who God is. That is how He works. We stand on the shore and scream at Him and berate Him and ask Him why, WHY! Yet when we on bended knees surrender to Him and ask Him to love us...Oh! How He loves us. He washes over us and makes us new. He submerges us completely then raises us up. He loves us. And oh, how He does it well.


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