Last summer during their wedding ceremony, I asked Matt and Xeng to tell us who they are. I was using Colossians 3:12, “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” I asked the same question during our worship yesterday and they remembered the answer, “holy and dearly loved”.
Here’s another question. Why? Why does God love you?
We read several scripture passages last week which can help us answer this question.
In Psalm 100, we read “It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” We come to him and enter his presence with confidence “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever.”
In Romans 5, we read “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
In Matthew 9, we read, “When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
So, we see that we are his. He made us, he owns us, he watches over us. He loves us. And his love for us is not because we are lovable, winsome and cute. In fact, we are loved by God at our worst.
Why does he love us? Because that’s the way he is. God loves us because of who he is. In fact, love only has meaning as it is demonstrated and given definition by God.
This is such good news! You and I are embraced by the love of God. He finds us harassed and helpless (have you been feeling that lately?) and brings us into his loving presence like a good shepherd does with the sheep.
Now notice another theme that Paul brings up in Romans 5. “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Paul wants us to see that our suffering exists in the context of God’s love.
When we suffer, we ask, “why?”. Did I do something wrong? Am I missing something that I am supposed to know? Does God want me to learn something? Why am I suffering?
Remember that we are holy and dearly loved by God. Paul tells us that good things do happen during our suffering. We are changed, we persevere, our character builds, and we find new hope, all in the midst of suffering. But this is not the answer to our “why?”. This is the good that God brings through our suffering.
God may not answer my questions about suffering, but he continually affirms his love, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
God wants us to see that we suffer, persevere, grow in character, and find hope, all within the loving embrace of God.