What makes it burn?
When you’re alone with your thoughts, your dreams—what do you imagine? What do you see?
I have countless dreams. Many of which have been planted in my heart by God Himself. They include becoming a published author and speaker, proclaiming the Name of Jesus, and revealing Scripture’s Vibrant Relevance to an upcoming generation. I also have dreams for my boys and my man. For my current family and the future one it will expand to with daughters-in-law and grandchildren. I have dreams of being fit and strong. Of going to Ireland and Scotland. And, on this cold February day, I dream of summer.
But what my heart hungers for; what my soul desires more an than anything else is captured by Mercy Me’s song; I Can Only Imagine. My heart longs for eternity. To be face-to-face with my Savior. In His arms. Surrounded by His glory. Forever worshiping my Jesus.
“DADDY!” Her high pitched squeal exploded from her tiny little body as she shot across the gym into the outstretched arms of her father. If she could have run faster, she would have. Nothing and no one was going to hold her back from being where she wanted to be—in her father’s waiting embrace. And the relief that came over her as she crashed into his chest was felt by everyone in the room. Her innocence, radiance, and vitality only compounded her joy. Exuberance. Delight. Adoration. Love.
Her father’s face mirrored hers as he waited for her on his knees, arms opened as wide as they would go. And when he and finally got to wrap her up in his powerful, protective arms, his heart was full. But his affection emanated with more depth and maturity than hers. The weight of raising this little lady into a woman of substantial character and integrity keeps him grounded. But in moments like these, the burden evaporates. And joy resonates.
Does this tiny little beauty drive her father crazy sometimes? Undoubtedly. Does she disobey, break the rules? Absolutely. Does she sass back? I wouldn’t doubt it. Is her daddy required to discipline her from time to time to refine her and teach her the right way to go? Of course. Will there be days when she tests the limits or blows right through them without looking back? You can count on it.
But does her sassiness, disobedience, and times of rebellion change this daddy’s love for his baby girl? Never! His love for her is steadfast. Complete. Unconditional.
NO! And yes. See, His love is perfect. Untainted by sin. Sacrificial. Unconditional. AND eternal.
God’s love is patient and kind. It’s not boastful, proud, or rude. His love does not demand its own way—in His love, He gives us to the opportunity to accept Him or reject Him with full knowledge of the consequences either way. God’s love is not irritable. And when we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive them and cleanse us from that sin, keeping no record of our wrong. His love is just and true. And in His love, He never gives up on us. His love endures through every circumstance. Challenge. Day. Month. Year. And generation. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 John 1:9)
Beloved, when our greatest desire is to run into our Savior’s arms—nothing and no one can get in our way. Hold us back. Keep us from being where we most want to be.
Even on this side of Heaven we can experience His love and embrace. His closeness. How do I know this? Because God promised:
Our God is a jealous God. He wants all of us. All our devotion. Adoration. Worship. Praise. And in return, He offers—Himself. His Son. Salvation. Purpose. Hope. And a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
How fast are you running? Are you pushing your arms and legs to their limits—to go as fast as they can go? Are you anticipating the relief when you crash into your Father’s chest?
Or are you hesitating?
Do you want to fling yourself into His embrace, but are unsure if His powerful, protective arms are going to be there, ready to scoop you up? Are you questioning if you have a right to be there? If you deserve His unconditional love or not?
Dear One, none of us deserve His love—or our salvation. None of us! (Romans 3:10) His love and salvation are gifts! We can’t earn, buy, or bargain for them, so there’s no boasting required (Ephesians 2:8-9). That’s what makes the parable of the Prodigal Son is so beautiful (Luke 15:11-32). We’re all prodigals. We’ve all sinned. We’ve all fallen short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23) But when we believe Jesus and accept Him, God gives us the right to become HIS children. (John 1:12 NLT) Did you know His Holy Spirit joins with our spirit and verifies this? (Romans 8:16). Oh, Sweet One, this is what has our Father on His knees, on our level, arms stretched as far as they can go, ready to receive us.
So what’s hindering you, Beloved? What’s keeping you from running into His arms and crashing into His chest? Guilt? Shame? Bitterness? Pride? Unforgiveness? Unconfessed sin? Unbelief?
Like this little girl’s daddy, God KNOWS what you’ve done. How you’ve rebelled. He knows where you’ve been. He knows your disobedience. He’s aware of your unconfessed sin and unbelief.
If you’ve sincerely asked for forgiveness—He has already faithfully forgiven you. Washed you clean. (1 John 1:9) He has taken your sin and thrown it as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:2) Any guilt coming at you is not from Him but from Satan. Remember, the Devil’s favorite ploy is to remind us of our past. Dear One, remind him of his future. Rebuke him. And then send him back to hell where he belongs.
Next time we will talk about forgiveness. Not what it is, but our responsibility to accept it once it’s been asked for and given.
Until then…Jesus is waiting for you, arms outstretched as far as they can go. If you trip or stumble as you run, it’s ok; He will catch you. He won’t let you fall.
So RUN, Beloved! Run as fast as you can. Crash into His chest. Let His relief wash over you.
‘The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord .’