The Father’s love does not force itself on the beloved. Although he wants to heal us of all our inner darkness, we are still free to make our own choice to stay in the darkness or step into the light of God’s love. God is there. God’s light is there. God’s forgiveness is there. God’s boundless love is there. What is so clear is that God is always there, always ready to give and forgive, absolutely independent of our response. God’s love does not depend on our repentance or our inner or outer changes. Whether I am the younger son or the older son, God’s only desire is to bring me home.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
The Lord’s steadfast love endures forever. Throughout Scripture this is the point that is driven home time and time again. Even in the times when we don’t understand how it looks, the Lord’s love for his people is unchanging. When we wander through life’s deserts, choosing to stay in our isolation, the steadfast love of the Lord is unchanging. When we choose to dwell in the darkness of life, allowing grief, depression and anxiety to be the Rulers of our lives, still the steadfast love of the Lord is unchanging. When we are rebellious, when we choose our own self fulfillment over the goodness of the Lord, still the steadfast love of the Lord is unchanging.
So as we celebrate Thanksgiving, as we prepare for Advent, as we deal daily with the turbulence of the brokenness that is so evident all around us, let us see and remember that the steadfast love of the Lord is unchanging. He sees our fear, He sees how we have been marginalized, how we feel alone, unheard, unseen. He sees all of these because he sees each one of His children. While the world around us is constantly changing, His character is not.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from north and from the south. Psalm 107
Becky Kiern is Director of Community Life and Women’s Ministry