i’ve recently become overwhelmed by how much God loves me. it knocks the wind out of me. my understanding of love is so limited but, His is perfect.
at life group on monday i said something that struck a chord inside me and i’ve been wrestling with it since. we read the first 18 verses in james chapter one and began to discuss if trials come from God or if He merely permits them to happen. some said that only good things from God therefore, trials weren’t from Him. i said that being sick was God's best for me. as i continued to listen, i realized that times of trial have produced the most growth and consequential goodness in my life. i can really appreciate God’s character - His grace, love, unchanging-ness, beauty, goodness, perfection, faithfulness, tenacity, sacrifice, etc. because of those seasons of trial. let me explain.
on sunday, amy said that she had never been so full of gratitude than when God had blessed them with furniture for their new home. she didn’t understand why this circumstance had her more full of thanksgiving than any other and she felt God respond that she had never allowed herself to be in that much need before.
a couple years ago, after my season of sin came to light - my world crumbled. i couldn’t see beyond that moment. i had made a huge mess and hurt people who i love and coming back from that moment seemed like an impossibility. my mom came out from hawaii to santa barbara. rewind, my mom and i have a complicated relationship. she has been an alcoholic for my whole life. she goes through seasons of sobriety and seasons of “off the wagon”. when she is sober-my mom is, hands down, my favorite person in the world. neither of us are perfect and our relationship has been marked by grace and love. back to my life in ruins. my mom shows up and says, “dan, i’ve made lots of mistakes in life and have received more grace than i deserve. i know what it is like to need grace, i know what it is like to receive grave, so i have open hands in giving it. i forgive you. lets figure out what to do from here.”
while i appreciate the value of blessings and “mountain tops”. i understand that God is more concerned with my holiness than my happiness. it is the times when i’m in desperate need, when i’m confused, when i’m hurt, when i’m at the bottom of the pit, i find peace, joy, love, grace, patience in the arms of Jesus. without the need, how can we appreciate the gift of His presence?
as far as the theological question of the origin of our trials - does God permit the trials or does He bring them? i’m not sure. but what i do know is i see His fingerprints all over my circumstances. He loves me enough to allow me to get “found out” and give me a second chance at life. He loves me enough to allow me to learn about grace through my relationship with my mom. He loves me enough for me to get sick and lose a job in an unhealthy environment to free up my time to spend with Him and establish friendships with you all. the more i understand His character i can trust that He is up to something far more beautiful than i am capable of comprehending upon first glance.
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…
He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.