A 14 Day Meditation on the Love of God
We do not have to understand, we only have to trust
Peace is Being Still
“The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before him”
Scripture Reading–Psalm 131
“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.”
For years, served God’s church as a pastor. The word “pastor” means “shepherd, and that’s what I assumed was my calling or purpose in life. I was called to be a shepherd of God’s people. So imagine my surprise when I read in the Bible that I was not a shepherd–I was a sheep. Jesus is the shepherd, not me.
Imagine my surprise and relief to discover that people didn’t need me to be their pastor. They already have a better pastor than I ever was God is their pastor. the role of a pastor in a church is a temporary substitute for the shepherding of God. When people cannot see the true Shepherd, they need stand-ins like me to take their place until they can see their real and true shepherd in God.
You, too, are mainly called to be a sheep, following and trusting God. Before you can help others, you must first follow the real leader. God did not put the weight of the world on your shoulders, but He Himself bears the weight of the world. We must put the responsibilities that God placed on us back on Him, instead of carrying it ourselves.
The hardest part of following God is relinquishing our own self-reliance. Our anxiety causes us to control not only our own world, but the world around us. We feel that being in control is the only way to survive. We are convinced only we can protect our grown children, fix our friends’ lives, or feed the poor and hungry of the world. We watch the news constantly to stay informed about things that are not our business and out of our control. We stay on guard against potential dangers so remote we can’t even measure the chances of them happening, while ignoring dangers that are right in front of us. No wonder our lives are a mess!
Who can blame people for worrying? We live in a broken, dangerous world? But even so, God is in control. The good shepherd is still leading and guarding His sheep.
Trust of God doesn’t suddenly come upon us–comes as the Holy Spirit works in us over time, as we learn to look at Him, and not at our worries.
Psalm 131 is the song of a person who has developed childlike trust in God. He says his heart isn’t haughty–that is, he no longer believes himself to be the center of the universe. He has realized the world is not his to control. His eyes are not lofty, that is, he pays attention to inner, not outer concerns. He does not sit and fret over the latest scandal in Washington, or hurricanes in the coast. If something is beyond his control, he is content to leave it in God’s care. A wise person leaves the world to God, and does not demand to know everything that happens.
Instead, the psalmist has learned to sit, calmly and quietly. Notice, the psalmist does not say that God will calm us, but sees calming and quieting ourselves as the first step to learning trust. He choses to turn off the internet, TV and radio and sit in stillness. He does not fret over what else is happening, but puts his attention on God.
God is everywhere and all around us. His comfort surrounds us like a child surrounded by his mother’s arms. His presence is always with us, but we cannot see it because we are too busy trying to fix the world.
Peace with God begins with stillness and trust. Leave God to run the world, just learn to lean on Him.
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1898 and died on November 22, 1963–the same day as the Kennedy assassination. He is was a renowned scholar of English literature and one of the most influential Christian writers of the Twentieth Century. He was one of the founding member of the Inklings, a Christian writers’ group that included Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, and J. R. R. Tolkein.
Lewis was not always a Christian. As a young man, he rejected the faith and became an agnostic. But in his middle years through the influence of Tolkein and others, Lewis became an enthusiastic reconvert to Christianity.
Lewis is beloved by Christians of many denominations–Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical. His Narnia books have inspired major Hollywood motion pictures. He was a celebrity in his day and now more widely read than ever. He has published books of scholarship devotional books, children’s book, science fiction, letters, and poetry.
The central message of all his books, though remains the same–That God’s purpose for us is to have fellowship with Him, and that Christ came to make that fellowship possible. We exist for God to love and to follow and obey Him. His favorite picture of God is a loving and benevolent King who seeks to have a loving relationship with his subjects. In His Narnia books, he pictures Jesus as a Lion, the king of beasts, who is both powerful and gentle. In one famous passage, he describes Him by saying, “He is not a tame lion, but He is good.”
Here are some of Lewis’ quotes on the love of God:
“A Christian does not think that God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
“God cannot give us peace and happiness without himself, because there is no such thing.”
“Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
“You may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God.
Today’s Exercise–The Empathy of God
Today, think about God’s perfect empathy revealed in the Incarnation of Christ. God entered into this world so He could experience all our joys, pains, and sufferings. Even in the hard moments of life, He feels what we feel to the degree that we feel it. Close your eyes and call up one of your best memories. Imagine Jesus beside you, enjoying it right along with you. God shares our joys with us and never leaves us to celebrate alone. Now close your eyes and bring up one of your worst memories. Imagine Jesus beside you, suffering as you suffered thought it. God shares our pains with us and never leaves us to suffer alone.
Closing Worship Songs
“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil: he will preserve your soul. The Lord will preserve thy going out and your coming in from now on, and even forever.” Psalms 121:7,8