Saturday, March 1, 2014

Day 25 | Never Give Up, Always Surrender

There have been many times where I have wondered, “At what point does God give up on me?” I screw up so much, there’s got to be a breaking point, right? There have also been times when I have wondered, “Why does a God so big care for me at all?” In my mind these are not abnormal questions, and I have a weird feeling that most of us have asked them at some point in our lives.

 I’ve always told my students and friends that I love the Old Testament, not only for the awesome accounts of the prophets, or for the beauty and poetry of the Psalms, but because it’s a book of Israel’s failure and of God’s faithfulness. I mean c’mon…the Old Testament is chock full of people screwing up, and in the end what does God do? There are times when He’s angry and prophets have to plead with Him to bear with the stubborn Israelites, but in the end, He does something crazy. Instead of abandoning or destroying this stiff-necked people, God sends a savior. Not just any savior, but He sends His own son, Jesus, to die for them. When’s the last time you’ve wanted to sacrifice anything for the person who cut you off on the freeway, or for the person who yelled at you because of a mistake they made? For me, the answer is never. But God, being rich in mercy and full of grace decided to go to extreme lengths to bring His people back to Himself. He never gave up on His people, and in return, all He asks is surrender. 

I must admit, God’s love and mercy never really made much sense to me, but I started understanding it a little better almost a year ago. In late March of last year, my little niece Ara was born. She was born two months premature, so she lived the first two months of her life in the intensive care unit at Ohio State Medical Center. I remember holding her for the first time, just a little over two pounds, and as she started to grow I remember thinking, “she’s probably going to make some mistakes when she’s older…” I know, kind of pessimistic for an uncle to think, but the thought that came next caught me. I thought, “she’s probably going to make some mistakes when she’s older…but that won’t change the way I love her.” It was then that God’s love started to make a little more sense. We are God’s children, and we will and do make mistakes, but He loves us anyway because His love is not conditional on our successes or failures. Just like I love my little niece, and I will even if she makes mistakes, God loves us and nothing we can do will change that.
Father, thank you for loving us so much. At times it is hard to understand Your love, especially when we mess up and stray away from you, but You keep brining us back. Thank You for your intense love, and most of all, for sending Jesus to save us when we could not save ourselves. We bless You and thank You in Christ’s name, Amen.

-Jake Houf

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