Show us your faithful love, Lord, and give us your salvation. I will listen to what God will say; surely the Lord will declare peace to his people, his faithful ones, and not let them go back to foolish ways. His salvation is very near those who fear him, so that glory may dwell in our land. Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. Truth will spring up from the earth, and righteousness will look down from heaven. Also, the Lord will provide what is good, and our land will yield its crops. Righteousness will go before him to prepare the way for his steps.
Psalm 85:7-13 (CSB)
“How many times have I told you?”
“Why should I believe you when you’ve said the same thing before?”
“Don’t you remember how nice I was to you today? And then you do this?”
“I’m done! I mean it. This is it. I can’t take anymore.”
I’ve said these words. I’ve said them so many times I couldn’t begin to keep track of their frequency, much less their effectiveness. For all their use, you might assume they must do the job. Those searing sentences must cut their recipients to the quick, poking them right in the conscience, right in the deepest part of their hearts. Clearly my word-arrows strike their targets and initiate repentance and change.
Right? Because if I keep saying these things, it must be because doing so accomplishes something important. Not so much.
Over the past few years, I’ve realized that I am guilty of loving conditionally. As my daughter has grown older and my marriage has grown stronger, I’ve been forced to face head-on some of the challenges I bring to my most dear relationships — and one of the biggest is the ball of strings I have tied to my love.
Looking in the mirror is hard, friends. It’s hard when my jeans are tight or my face is broken out, and it’s hard when my sin nature is shining bright through the cracks. It’s hard when I see the expectations I place on people I call beloved, when I see the score sheet I keep against the very people on my team, and it’s hard when I realize how far short my love falls from the love our Father gives us so freely.
In Psalm 85, the author begs God for forgiveness, for another chance, for one more redemption story. He’s remembering all the times God has forgiven His people completely, and he’s believing that God will do it once again. He promises that He will, and our God is faithful, as the psalmist says.
He will forgive us every time, and no matter what, He will love us with an unfailing love.
Today, I am thankful for God’s faithful love and the example He gives us in loving unconditionally. When I read through the Old Testament and into the Psalms, I can’t help but shake my head at the Israelites — those fickle, faithless Israelites, who I might have more in common with than I want to admit. Yet God never shakes His head at me. He never shouts in exasperation, “How many times have I told you?” and He never, ever says, “I’m done.”
Thank You, God, for Your faithful love. Teach me to love faithfully too.
Are you placing strings on your love? To whom do you need to offer grace or forgiveness? Do you need to accept God’s faithful love? It’s right here for you, no strings attached.
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