“Show me the wonders of Your great Love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in you” (Ps. 17:7).
Joy to the world is one of my favorite Christmas carols. The fourth verse speaks about the ‘wonders of His Love.’ Sometimes, I wonder if I genuinely have a sense of wonder at His Love? I know I LOVE Christmas. I also LOVE presents and I LOVE feeling good. But I don’t always feel good at Christmas because of the many emotions that are stirred up.
Perhaps this happens to you as well? Maybe you wear yourself out with Christmas preparations? Do you ache for a relationship you once had, don’t have, or perhaps long for one you do have to be different? Do you compare your family to the one at church that seems to have it all together? Is life overwhelming and exhausting? We can have many unfulfilled expectations as we look to our circumstances or people to fill those needs. Many of us grieve the loss of someone we love through death or a broken relationship. To add to our misery, caring people may think they’re helping when they say things like, “God has a plan in all this” or “This will make you stronger.” That may well be true, but it doesn’t stop the feelings of sadness or longing for more—or different.
I recently experienced some of this ‘heart-ache.’ I got a good head start on Christmas this year and even put my tree up before Thanksgiving. That was a record-breaker for me. I got my Christmas shopping done and presents wrapped and placed under the tree relatively early this year also. But it was the making of Christmas cookies and listening to carols that got me going on a downward emotional spiral.
Longing at Christmas
It triggered a deep ache in my heart for my family the way it used to be. Not simply because my daughters are in heaven, and my son is grown with his own family. It’s that—and more. The absence of anticipating everyone together creates a longing. It’s a longing for it to be the way it once was and never again will be. Of course, this happens for ALL of us as the years go by because nothing stays the same. People move away, grow old, and die. It’s a part of life, and yet, it can still create a feeling of longing that will never satisfy the way you’d like it to. This is an unrealistic expectation.
Most often, we just need our feelings validated and get disappointed when people don’t know how to do that. We unknowingly set ourselves up for disappointment when we look for that from people. I recently did that and was sadly, but not intentionally, let down by the response I received from the person I wanted affirmation. The next morning, I was reading a devotional and was kindly reminded of one of the wonders of His Love. My Heavenly Father knows when I’m hurting and wants to wrap me in His Love and truth, even when I’m seeking only my own happiness.
It’s Because of His Love
It’s because of His Love for me that He wants me to remember to view my pain through His eyes, His Word, and His Love.
I know He is never pointing a judging finger at me or disappointed by my struggle. He came as a baby and lived as a man, setting aside His Deity to become human and experience all these things (and more), so He could sympathize with my struggles. He knows that what I need is His Love.
James 1:12 tells us that when we persevere under trial, we will be blessed and that those who love Him will receive the Crown of Life. The very first time I read that scripture was about 40 years ago. No kidding. The commentary in my Bible called it the “Lover’s Crown.” As trials came, I envisioned my Heavenly bridegroom, holding out my “Lover’s Crown,” cheering me on and saying, “You can make it! I Love you!”
Most Powerful Force in the Universe
Love, the most powerful and compelling force in the universe, is what motivates us to endure our pain. Think of a child who gets hurt. When Mommy or Daddy (or both) are nearby, their Love makes everything better. Think of any good story, Love is the motivator for the rescue or sacrifice. When any of us know how Loved we are, we are willing to go the extra mile for that person. It is true that all we need is Love. But it has to be God’s Love because human love falls short.
Our pain is genuine, but we have a Heavenly Father God who longs to cheer us on and fill us with His Love as we look to Him and take refuge in His Love. We can tell God what’s wearing us out or hurting us. He’s aware of the broken world we live in and knows our hearts. He knows the number of hairs on our head, the specific way He formed us, AND how the story ends. He’s the Sovereign God who can help us. As we call out to Him for strength to endure with patience and perseverance, He will empower us to view our world through eternal eyes, knowing He’s there at the end of it. We will soon see Him holding out the Lover’s Crown, promised to those who love Him.
We are created in God’s image to LOVE but sin causes us to function in our default human nature. This nature looks within and without, instead of upward. Corrie ten Boom, (Dutch Nazi Resistor who spent time in Ravensbruck concentration camp), said, “Look at the world and be distressed. Look within and be depressed. Look at God and be at REST.”
Only God’s Love
You see, it’s only HIS LOVE that can truly propel us forward in this broken world. It is when we know this Love, that we can Love God and others in our brokenness. This is what actually brings healing in our brokenness. God knew ahead of time what would bring ultimate life and healing to all of us. So, He gave this Love in the form of His Son so that we could know this Love. This is a true wonder.
He has certainly LAVISHED His extravagant Love on us. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).
He wants us free from expectations that only bring us down and disappoint. He came to bring us life abundant. As we unwrap AND embrace the gift of His Son, we can know the WONDERS OF HIS LOVE! We can put our hope (Expectation), in something that will never disappoint or let us down—everything else in life changes. One minute you are sitting on top of the world, the next minute, you feel like you have nothing. Another wonder of His Love is that He loves you just the way you are. Happy OR sad. God’s Love is greater and stronger than our doubts, fears, unbelief, and disappointments. God’s Love never changes.
It is our prayer that God captures your heart and that you experience and sing of the EXTRAVAGANT WONDERS of HIS LOVE this Christmas and coming New Year! Merry Christmas!
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You are eternally loved and there will be no end to God’s love for you!