Let God love us

Like a week ago, I was on the bus, and there were not many people on the bus. The weather was very nice, everyone seemed relaxed and content enjoying the view outside including this person who was on the wheelchair looking a bit emaciated.

At one bus stop among a small crowd came on board a guy clearly in a real jolly mood. He sat down in front of the person in a wheelchair, and cheerfully said hi. I almost thought he knew the person since there was no sign of hesitation whatsoever in how he greeted him.

But it became clear when the person expressed his confusion, “I don’t think I know you.” The happy guy said, “Oh no, you probably don’t,” and then tried to continue what he so confidently thought would be a pleasant small talk on the bus in a beautiful sunny day.

However, the conversation didn’t go as he expected. He tried asking about his health, specifically about the person’s back since he looked pretty stiff, but the person didn’t take it well. Then the happy guy turned it into a joke, trying to lighten the mood, but now the person really took offense. Finally, the person said in a voice that implied some period of extended time of anger and bitterness, “I don’t trust you because I don’t think you’re genuine. The joke’s not on me, it’s on you.”

That was it, no more conversation. The bus became dead silent. Then everyone including myself in the bus went back into the blindfold mode that is particularly characteristic of the Canadian culture, hypnotizing and telling ourselves, “I don’t know what just happened. Better not make any scene. Just pretend nothing happened.”

Cultural stereotyping aside, what I realized from that incident was that you can’t help a person if he/she doesn’t trust you. No matter how much you want to help others, if their hearts are not open to receive help, you can’t really give it. Obviously, the same goes the other way around. You can’t receive anything if you don’t trust those who have what you need.

Then, I thought about my life. In my whole life, there is not much I can do purely by myself without any help whatsoever from others. I have a bad tendency to try to solve all my problems in life solely within my abilities and none of others. It’s my pride and ego isolating myself and keeping me in the dark and helpless. But if I think about it, indeed there is so very little that I can achieve just by my own might.

The whole earth is maintained by something. Yes, there is brokenness and evil and chaos in this world it seems, but by and large the universe is being orchestrated by order and love. It is God. He maintains it. He is in control. He will eventually make everything restored and right too.

And God is reaching out to me today. And to you. He says hello this morning again. He hops on the “bus” of our life and greets us with the most beautiful smile hoping to have a pleasant conversation. And he is not even a stranger. He created us, he is our father, he died for us out of his love, he promises total acceptance, if only we trust him.

But we must trust him. He cannot make us do that. He is gentle and personal, not authoritarian nor abstract. He has already done everything we could ask for. True love and acceptance, significance and security, intimacy and protection. Now we must open our hearts to receive it.

God is waiting for us. He has so much wonderful stuff stored for us. Not just big things like dream and career and etc., but also small details in our lives too, to make our everyday full of joy and love and happiness and thankfulness. We might as well stop trying to control everything ourselves, and lay our lives to him who is truly in control.

Then we’ll know freedom. Let us let God love us.


Psalm 102

desparate-prayer (1)

“Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you!”
(Psalm 102:1)

The psalmist is desperate, very desperate. The following is how the psalmist describes own situation.

“For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace, my heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh. I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste  places; I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop. All the day my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse. For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink, because of your indignation and anger; for you have taken me up and thrown me down. My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.” (Psalm 102:3-11)

What a vivid picture of our afflicting days! We all have such days. I had them just weeks ago. We are indeed very weak. We may look okay on the outside perceived by other people, but this is actually what happens in the daily lives of human soul. It’s an experience of hell, sometimes. We all know it. Our struggle is deeply spiritual whether we recognize it or not.

The psalmist doesn’t stop here, though. He (given the time of the writing of Psalms, it is probably correct to think of the author as male than female) is wise. Now that he poured out his anguished heart before God, he shifts his focus from himself to God who stands in sharp contrast of infinite degree.

“But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is time to favor her; the appointed time has come.” (Psalm 102:12-13)

God is different. Not only that, He is also merciful, and has pity on his children. “For the LORD builds up Zion; he appears in his glory; he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer” (Psalm 102:16-17). He answers the prayers of the desperate people! He doesn’t despise their prayer, he regards them with pity, he is compassionate.

“that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the LORD looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die,” (19-20)

God listens to our groans when we’re enslaved. He wants to set us free and he does set us free. The Gospel. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). We have to remember the Gospel. The gospel sounds almost too familiar to some of us. We say, “yeah, yeah, of course, the gospel,” and then don’t really think about it. We need to think deeply into the implications of the gospel, rehearsing the whole story once again in our minds and letting it capture and stir our heart. It requires time, a committed time set aside for Jesus only. No distraction, just Jesus and me. And the Holy Spirit does his work within us, if only we would spend time with him in this way.

We’re weak, our lives are a mess, looking down and within, we have no hope, nor strength, nor will. But it’s okay. It’s okay because God is strong AND merciful. We can be hopeful in Him. We’re secure in Christ.

“They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.” (Psalm 102:26-28)

Let us look to God in our desperate times.