How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? (Psalm 4:2, NIV)
When people talk about the love of God towards humanity, they often quote John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.
Think for a minute, though, how long God waited before he sent Jesus into the world! Psalm 4:2 is one of many places in the Bible that laments our love for things that are not God. “How Long…” is a mantra that is repeated again and again, because we just can’t seem to stay dedicated to Him. Yet His love for us never fails.
Paul tells us that God waited until just the right moment:
When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. 7 Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. 8 But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us. (Romans 5:6-8, The Voice)
God’s love for us has a long horizon. He loves us when we obey him. And He loves us through long seasons of trouble. God’s love for us isn’t fickle. it doesn’t blow with the wind. It isn’t contingent on God getting what He wants. He’s willing to wait. His love is patient.
It makes me think about some people in my life who are very special to me. Let me tell you about them.
Over the Thanksgiving break, I took some time to clean up some old files on my computer. I discovered a spreadsheet of one of PCC’s earliest mailing lists – just a year or so after we started. I went through the list and discovered that there were 41 families (about a hundred people) who are at PCC today who were with us in the earliest days of our church.
As I went down the list slowly, I could see each family and picture each face. I know them well. We’ve got history together. We’ve had a lot of great conversations, eaten many meals, shed some tears and shared some laughs together.
They’ve also bled and walked through fire for PCC.
What I thought about most was how these folks loved our church and the mission of our church in a way that had a long horizon. They’ve been with us during seasons when we soared. They’ve also been with us during seasons when we stumbled. These people loved our church when we took risks that paid off, and they loved our church when we took risks that flopped and failed. They stood with us, taking some public ridicule and privately answering hard questions about PCC from their families and friends.
That’s what love is. It’s commitment that stands for the long haul.
Are there people in your life who have loved you with a long horizon? People who loved you when you were smart, and when you…weren’t?
Christmas is about God’s love for humanity that has a long horizon. We think we’re waiting for Christmas. The truth is, God is waiting for us. Maybe he’s even waiting for you.
Pray today thanking God for His love for you regardless of what you do or how you relate to Him.