When a Steadfast Love Wrecks Your Heart

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This verse. It's been ringing in my head for days. The words are so simple but they're so powerful. They humble me because they're quite honestly the opposite of me, if I really look at my truest core. I'm reminded in this one, short, little verse how human I am, how broken I am, how much growing I still have to do.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
— Psalm 103:8

Merciful. 

Forgiving. Compassionate. Generous. Kind. Softhearted.

That's God. And then there's me: unforgiving, quick to judge, selfish, wild-hearted.

Gracious.

Courteous. Kind. Patient. 

That's God.

Slow to anger.

That's God. And then there's me: far too quick to jump to anger, easily frustrated and annoyed.

Abounding in steadfast love.

His love is plentiful, resolute, unwavering, loyal, faithful, devoted, dedicated, dependable, true, constant, solid...

That's God.

That's not me.

My love, I'm more than aware, is so very conditional. My heart is neither steady nor faithful, but instead reckless and wandering and always prone to doubting or disconnecting. I'm more likely to judge than to show mercy, more likely to turn a blind eye than engage, more likely to hold grudges instead of offer forgiveness.

I'm so aware of my shortcomings. I'm so aware of all the ways I'm nothing like God. And although I'm not proud of them, I deeply desire to name them and bring them to the light, because they're the places where growth, healing, and transformation can happen.

Identifying and naming my faults is the first step in freedom. Defining my weaknesses is the beginning of building strength. Realizing my broken humanity humbles me to a place where I realize my desperate need for salvation and for my Savior who offers it.

This doesn't feel like a destructive realization. It's the total opposite-- it's a freeing, eye-opening revelation.

I've had moments like this before, when I realized how messy my heart really was, and I ran from the truth of it. I thought it would be easier to try to hide from it, to push it away, to pretend like it wasn't there at all. Adam and Eve did this too. They tried to hide their guilt and shame with the flimsy covering of some leaves...and the Lord found them in it anyway.

I can't run. I can't hide. And I don't want to.

I want to instead lean in, to press onward, to sit at the feet of my Creator and King and give all of my broken, messy, reckless heart to Him, knowing that the words of that little verse are so true. He is merciful. He is gracious. He is slow to anger. He is abounding in steadfast love. Nothing I have done or will do or have said or will say or have felt or will feel will change that.

He is steadfast.

He gives mercy I don't deserve. He gives grace I'm unworthy of. He loves me endlessly, faithfully, wholly.

He is changing my heart day by day. He is teaching me how to look and love more like Him. I've come far, and have further still to go.

How grateful I am for a steadfast Love. How grateful I am for a God who is Love.

The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public - to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now - this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.
— Romans 3:22-26, MSG

Share with us in the comments: what verse has been meaningful to you lately, and why?