THE UNFAILING LOVE OF GOD.
LET THEM GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD FOR HIS UNFAILING LOVE AND HIS WONDERFUL DEEDS FOR MANKIND. — PSALM 107:8
I love fresh starts. The beginning of the year, the start of a new month, the first day of the week—they all hold the possibility that I can be and do better. This even translates to new relationships. I can convince myself that I will be a better friend this time, that I won’t forget to respond to texts or check in after that important doctor’s appointment. While I don’t use the word “perfect,” that’s basically what I am striving for, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that I can’t keep up with my own intentions for very long. Even with those I love the most, I fail to love the way I desire to love them and the way they deserve, the way God loves us.
Contemplating this unfailing love.
When we don’t experience this kind of unfailing love on a human level, it can be really hard to try to understand how God loves us. Even the very best human example you can think of ultimately falls short when it comes to how God feels about and interacts with us. Thinking about God’s love for us is one of my favorite things to consider when I really want to boggle my own mind. It’s a humbling exercise, but one that drives me to give thanks to the Lord as our verse this month calls us to do. Here are a few of the things I let my mind linger upon when it comes to thinking about God’s love for us.
God’s love for us is constant.
It’s crazy to me to think about how God’s love for me doesn’t change. His love doesn’t change depending on my performance or even the condition of my heart. As Romans 5:8 tells us, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We didn’t even realize we were lost and needed saving when God sent Jesus to make a way for us. I can easily convince myself that, as a believer, I need to perform in some way to maintain God’s love for me. Or worse, when I fail to perform that God’s love for me has diminished in some way, but this verse reminds me that is just not true. His love for us reveals more about who he is than who we are, and that’s a great comfort to me.
God’s love is based on his character, not our behavior.
Psalm 51 records David crying out to the Lord after the prophet Nathan approached him for sleeping with Bathsheba and having her husband killed. While there are a lot of rich verses in this chapter, the first verse caught my attention since it uses the same Hebrew word for “unfailing” that’s in our verse this month: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.” David is appealing to the Lord not because of his previously stellar track record, his good intentions, the tough season he has had, etc. David appeals to the Lord because of who the Lord is, not because of anything he’s done to warrant such mercy. I find that so reassuring in my low moments, as I don’t have anything at all to recommend myself to him or any excuse for my attitude or behavior. Again, it’s in those moments that I am reminded that I’m in safe hands because of who he is and not because of anything that has to do with me.
God reveals his love for us in the way he pursues us.
As 1 John 4:19 reminds us, “We love because he first loved us.” Again in this verse, we see that he set his sights on us not because we were worthy of his attention, but because he chose us. The best part is that even when we fail or forget, he keeps choosing us and pursuing us.
One of my favorite examples of this is the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11-32. If you haven’t read it before or recently, I recommend you read it slowly as a reminder of God’s unfailing love for us. I won’t rehash the whole story, but essentially, there’s a man who has two sons. His younger son asks for his portion of his inheritance while his father is still alive, and after the father grants him his request, the younger son squanders it through wild living. Eventually, he comes to his senses and decides to beg to be one of his father’s servants since they were treated better than he was currently living. Luke 15:20 says, “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” For his father to have seen his son while he was still a long way off gives me the impression that he was watching and waiting for his son to return. Then, the father runs to his son. He doesn’t make his son walk the full distance alone, he meets him where he is and walks his son home. We are prone to drift, and when we come to our senses, we expect to need to grovel and make amends. Our God is more focused on our walking back to him. Even if we are still a long way off, he runs to meet us where we are, eager to walk us where we belong: with him.
God’s love for us is beyond our understanding.
"’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9). This verse sets me straight when I wrongly assume that God thinks and acts as I do. Even more, this verse is addressed to the “wicked” and “unrighteous,” encouraging them to return to the Lord because he will “have mercy on them” (Isaiah 55:77). Surely when I am struggling or feeling that I am not measuring up, the last thing I can fathom is the Lord beckoning me to turn to him, so that he might be kind and merciful to me. I tend to make God too small and too human in my thoughts. I assume that he would think and behave as I would if our roles were reversed. How thankful I am that his thoughts and actions aren’t at all what I assume them to be, especially when I am at my worst!
While this definitely isn’t an exhaustive list of the many ways God demonstrates his unfailing love for us, I hope that maybe one of these aspects has struck a chord with you. My encouragement to you today is to spend time returning to that aspect of God’s unfailing love and let it transform your understanding of who he is and his love for you this week. May it result in thanksgiving to the Lord for who he is and how he loves you.
Thanks for reading,
Meet RANDI owens
Hey everyone! I'm Randi. I live in small town Colorado with my husband, Clinton, and our three rowdy boys. I love being a part of a crew whose mission is to help equip others to know his Word deeply.
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Cultivating Thankfulness Together // Rachel Gilson
Have you ever heard someone thank an item instead of the person who gave it to them? What is behind that impulse to be thankful, and where should it really be directed? If you’re looking for both a deep dive into the meaning of Psalm 107 as well as some practical questions and tools to help you live out it’s call to thank the Lord, you’re in the right place! Rachel Gilson and Natalie Abbott dig into the details to not only help us see what Scripture is saying, but to lead us in learning how to live lives of thankfulness to God together as his people.
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