Today I get some reminders of God’s neverending forgiveness, patience, power, and love. It keeps me going all day long.
First we read of Judah and Tamar. In the previous chapter the story of Joseph is off and running, with Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers. Then in Chapter 38 the story is interrupted as we learn of what happens to one of the brothers, Judah. It’s a long story but the bottom line is that Judah continues to mess up, as if selling Joseph wasn’t enough for one lifetime. He marries a Canaanite woman. He tries to cling to his third son by being disobedient and not giving him in marriage to Tamar because he’s afraid he might die. He has sex with a woman he thinks is a prostitute but it’s his daughter-in-law. She gets pregnant with twins, one of which becomes a forefather of David and Jesus. Say what???? Then in the next chapter the story of Joseph picks right back up again. Neverending forgiveness.
Then in Mark we read of how Jesus performs miracles by feeding thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a few fish. Now you would think that would leave quite a mark in your memory, but in no time everyone forgets and goes about their business, and the next time they are hungry they start to panic. Jesus has to remind him of the miracles he has performed in the past. Neverending patience. Neverending power.
Then Jesus tells the disciples of the suffering that is to come, both for him and for his followers. He says some pretty perplexing things that I’m sure did not make sense to the the disciples at the time. He tells them that “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” Say what??? I don’t know about you, but if I don’t want to lose something I hang onto it. Like Judah hanging on to his last son.
Finally Paul tells us in Romans 8 that we have access to God’s power. This power frees us from the power of sin and death. Then he goes on to say that “all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose”. Of course later he says that it doesn’t mean with won’t have trouble, because we will. But we will have victory. We WILL. He closes by telling us that NOTHING can separate us from God’s love.
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. 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. (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)
Encouraging words for troubled times.