Love Made the First Move

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I’m just guessing here, but I bet most people who do a Bible-in-a-year reading plan start in January.  That’s what I’ve done in the past. It just feels like a good starting point for a project like that, right?  Well, last year I started in August.  Then, I stopped in September.  And then, I picked back up in December, even working double-time for a little bit.  When January rolled around, I was still only in Numbers and I had a decision to make.  Start over and be in sync with the expected timeline, or keep on the path I was on.  My reading plan took me through Job only 4 days after starting Genesis and I really sensed God speaking to me through that book at that exact time. Remembering his faithfulness to that point, I decided, even after my starts and stops, he’s got me right where I’m supposed to be. How could I pass up the opportunity to trust him for the next perfect message at the perfect time?   

Now that Valentine’s Day is coming up, I was working on some new, love-ly downloads to share and lo and behold, here comes the next timely realization.  I love trusting the LORD to do his work!!   Don’t you?  I had just finished Leviticus, and instead of feeling overwhelmed or discouraged by reading all the laws God expected the Israelites to keep or all the rituals they had to perform to be pure enough to remain in his presence, I was instead overwhelmed by the lengths to which God went in order to be near to US.  It’s like taking a big trip to visit loved ones and encountering hassles, delays, obstacles and frustrations and saying upon arrival, “All that just so I could be here with you.” When you love someone to that degree, all you really want is to be near them.     

In the absence of absolute understanding for any of us, I’ve heard God’s holiness likened to the sun.  At the right distance, we benefit from and enjoy being in its presence.  Too close, and we incinerate.  It’s impossible for God to tolerate impurity, but he continued to make a way, through laws and rituals, for the Israelites to remain the right distance of closeness because he knows he, HIMSELF, is what is best for us. 

1 John 4:19 is one of those verses that encompasses SO much meaning it can be hard to know where to start.  Conversely, it encompasses SO much meaning it can be equally skimmed and feel like you “get it,” especially if The New Testament is where you typically camp out.  When I considered this well-known verse for a love-themed screensaver, the depth and richness of its meaning was highlighted even more against the backdrop of having spent a few months beginning to read the Old Testament for another trip through the whole Bible narrative.  

Through The Law and The Prophets, God made a way for Old Testament Jews to experience his holy presence.  And, through Jesus, the sacrificial lamb who forever bears the penalty of our sin today, he makes a way for us until he restores perfect community through Heaven on Earth. 

Here’s my hope for us: to use this image to remind ourselves why we even have the chance and capability to love.  Love on this earth is complicated, messy, and even painful at times.  May each of our heartbreaks give us better understanding of how the acts of our imperfection pain him.  May each of our relationships remind us of him as the origination of nearness.  And, when our hearts feel like they are literally bursting with all kinds of emotions, may we feel ever nearer to him as the reason for our existence.   

Oh, and if you’ve never made a trip through the whole Bible, in whatever amount of time it takes, at whatever time you start, you’re missing out on some of the most amazing foreshadowing and flashbacks no amount of Netflix could ever provide. 

 Download and enjoy!   

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