Let God love us

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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.

Isaiah 9:1-7

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“But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” (Isa. 9:1)

When God used Isaiah to proclaim his messages for his people, Israel was worshiping idols who couldn’t hear though they have ears and couldn’t see¬†though they had eyes. And they themselves were becoming blind and deaf to the living God. The people of Israel put their trust in mere created idols instead of in the living God. And the personal and living God, Yahweh, is a jealous God. The Assyrians were coming to destroy them in the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali.

But in God, there is always hope. He wants us to turn back to him. He wants us back. No matter how harsh or unreasonable or incomprehensible it might seem, God’s ultimate motive is always us. He wants us. He loves us. That’s why everything that happened happened.

“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.” (Isa. 9:2-5)

No more darkness. The nation is abundant with its people in joy. The fullest joy possible like the joy at the harvest and after victory over war. The heavy burden and the hard rod of the oppressor is gone. Everything that reminds of those painful times are completely burned up. That’s what God promises. The true happy ending. Hope. The ultimate hope of the humanity.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)

Jesus Christ, the Messiah. God promised them that he would come. He came. The secret, the mystery is no longer hidden from us. We have the promise of God. He has kept his promise of the Old Testament. Surely, He will keep his promises of the New Testament.

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isa. 9:7)

His kingdom will be forever. And the zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. The zeal of God. He is indeed very zealous toward us. His love is not just intellectual or conceptual nor abstract. His love is real. He is a personal God. He wants a relationship. He wants love, trust, intimacy, faith, loyalty, and integrity. And he works for it. He did all the work. He came down. He suffered for our sake. He became vulnerable. It was his zeal that did it.

Simple fact about myself is that I lack zeal. I have good intentions. I even claim I have answers to some important questions. But love, I’m no good at love because I lack zeal. How can I have zeal like God? How can I have real love so that I wouldn’t mind going through difficulties and suffering for the sake of others and for God? How can I stand firm in the face of opposition and temptation? I lack zeal.. God, help me learn from you. Let your love and zeal touch my heart deeply so that I will have the passion like yours. I’m afraid I’m all talk and nothing else.

Help me see your zeal toward me, and teach me your love.