ISAIAH 54 [The Message]
10 “For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
The God who has compassion on you says so.
When God speaks, He means what He says, and He does not go back on His words. To do so would be to violate His own nature and His own character. So intrinsically perfect is He, that He cannot change and will not change. Not now. Not ever. He is as predictable as anything you think you can depend on never changing. As much as in your heart you can believe and know that tomorrow will be another dawn, so you can put your trust in God and His love for you. I usually go to my usual response when I am challenged by someone when I make an assertion like this one. “All I know, is that I know, that I know, that I know, and there is nothing that is going to change or alter that knowing that I know. I just know.” It sounds funny when you hear it. It looks even funnier reading the words out loud. I did really say that, and often do, when there is nothing left for me to say, and I really cannot convince you or another person, because you need “your own knowing”, if you know what I mean? [wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more, say no more].
My good friend Joshua Tongol has long been a proponent and advocate of the abundant and extravagant love and grace of God. In his first book, So You Thought You Knew, Joshua shares his own journey of faith and religious performance in a lucid and honest way, baring his heart and all the lessons he has learned on his journey of embracing a greater revelation of love, and the acceptance of God for all of us as His children, all the while challenging the traditionally held beliefs many of us Evangelicals have been taught. I found much to appreciate from Joshua as he shared his journey. My reading of it, and my own rethinking on the hard questions that Joshua poses all of his readers, questions I have myself asked many times, I found more and more that I could grow in my experience and encounter with the God of love which I see in the pages of Scripture, as I yielded to Him completely letting go or my preconceived notions of theological truth and belief about the character and nature of God, and all the theological boxes I conveniently made for Him.
I learned two decades ago, and have since learned many times over, God, will not be put in any of my boxes, or your boxes, or anyone else’s boxes for that matter! Joshua’s book reinforced my own break from fear based Evangelical faith, and the deep seeded performance driven aspects of Evangelicalism that has nothing to do with expressing our faith and trust and relationship in God. Joshua shared his journey, and in the sharing confirmed my own similar journey, that God not only IS love, but ALL of His actions are based and rooted in that divine love nature, and God cannot help Himself but to love us all unconditionally. It is the trappings of “religion” that puts God and His actions in categories He still refuses to be boxed into!
As Joshua did in his book, I will quote Carlton Pearson, “In many ways, the Church seems to hate evil more than it loves good or even God.”
I am wanting in these days to focus on the love and grace of God. That is what is so amazing about Him. His unwavering love for humanity. Have you ever pondered and thought about evil and sin in a different way than what you were taught by others? By this I mean, I did not need to be convinced of my own flaws, or “sins” or “mistakes”. I knew of my sin and missing the mark from my own life experience. I used to say that when Lori and I had our children, that is when I discovered the genuine truth concerning “total depravity”. Children and infants will do all they can to get their own way. In the history of humanity, the evidence is plentiful, that the most harm that has been done toward others have been acts committed by people “who wanted to have their own way.” The evidence of being so different than God is found in our desire to “have our own way.”
The irony is that God will have His way, and will have a full inheritance for Jesus Christ. He will have His way. God is more than able to bring it to pass, and in that whole process He will be operating out of grace and love that is so rich and abundant that it will stagger the mind and the imagination will not be able to comprehend it or define it. God is so big and so vast that he cannot be defined. As Joshua said in his first book:
“The meaning we pour into the names and labels is up for debate. Some can be true and some can be false. But all names—even if they’re true—have limitations. They shouldn’t totally define me or anyone else. I think the same goes for “God” as well. Any name we call “God” will always fall short because of our limited understanding.” ~ Joshua Tongol
The bottom line? God is so vast and so incredibly bigger than any theological formulations and any of your definitions, and once you grasp that, and then go further and ask the deeper questions, you will find out what it is that God is all about.
Love conquers all. God’s love overcomes all and embraces all, all through the crucified Lord, like the U2 song says, “When Love Comes To Town”:
I was there when they crucified my Lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword.
I threw the dice when they pierced his side
But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide.
When love comes to town I’m gonna jump that train
When love comes to town I’m gonna catch that flame.
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town.
You should read Joshua for yourself and explore all the deeper questions and the even deeper depths of God’s love and grace.
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