Recently, I watched our oldest granddaughter toss college notes onto a fire in a fire pit as she came to the end of a grueling BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. I am not so sure our oldest grandson who is finishing finals of his sophomore year in college in pre-med wouldn’t like to do the same except that he may need them in the years ahead. I have watched, as these first two of our six grandchildren have poured themselves out and fallen at the foot of the cross for the only One who could sustain and provide for them in the midst of exhaustion, doubt, discouragement, and sometimes disappointment. I have also watched as they have been stretched in trust and faith in the Jesus they have both believed in for quite a few years.
I have watched their parents, our children, as well who have poured so much into them stood with, exhorted, and comforted them as they take a step closer to adulthood and the responsibilities and challenges that wait for them on the other side of the door of their college life. It speaks of a big transition, a time of letting go of small things, small ideas, and small dreams and learning what remains. It is the first major sifting process of adulthood where the urgent clashes with the important.
It can be easy to make the urgent a villain in the mix and sometimes it can be, but life does not let us escape attending to the urgent many times. Our challenge is to discern the truly urgent from the nagging things at our elbow that may seem urgent, but are not.
It is our challenge to also remember that we are being molded and shaped by the Potter according to His design. The process of being spun on a wheel and molded and pounded into the shape He intends is not going to always be a picnic or a lot of fun. It will often hurt and we will want to pull back from the hands of the Potter, but we must not forget that He sees beyond what our human eyes can see and he knows well the finished product He intends. He knows what must be eliminated and what must be added and His hands are sure and full of grace and mercy.
God, the Father, shaped His son as well as Jesus grew up in human form, walked through the wilderness testing, and then the ultimate testing on the cross. He submitted to the process despite the shame and pain, the agony and the grief. He knew what remained and in Him the result was the manifestation of that.
What remained? God’s love.
Jesus became God’s love demonstrated in the flesh so we wouldn’t miss it. It was what He wanted us to have confidence and assurance in. When we get confused about that or if we do, it is likely because we understand so little about what love, His love, is all about. Paul reminds us in that famous ending of Romans 8:38-39 NLT:
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We hear it again in powerful lyrics and words in the song, “One Thing”, heard so often at Passion conferences and sometimes during our worship services. I love singing it in worship and allowing the words to resonate deeply in my spirit.
“Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me…On and on and on it goes. Yes, it overwhelms and satisfies my soul; and I never, ever, have to be afraid ‘cause this one thing remains…your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me…”
The very best news about it is that it was and is not based on who I am or who I’m not.
Love is just who He is!