Read |Romans 8: 18 - 29|
Psalm 119:64 reads, “Lord, the earth is filled with your faithful love; teach me your statutes.” (CSB). I read Psalm 119:64 and my soul hangs on the phrase, “the earth is filled with your faithful love”. As I meditate, the words cycle through my heart and inspire awe: The whole earth is filled with His expression of unfailing unselfish concern toward it?
In pondering the truth of the psalmist’s declaration it is easy to wonder how God’s love could fill the earth and there be suffering, still. There is a strong narrative that runs in the background of my mind, as I ponder. It says that if His love truly filled the earth, all that makes the earth and its inhabitants groan would have been removed.
How could omnipotent God take note of the neediness of the earth and its inhabitants and express unfailing unselfish concern toward them and suffering remain? Is not the presence of suffering evidence that somehow God’s expression of love, no matter how effusive, is wanting?
God is omnipotent. There is nothing, in agreement with His character, which He cannot do perfectly. There is no intention of His heart that leaves Him frustrated for lack of His capacity to pursue and fulfill it. His power cannot be frustrated. Almighty God is His name.
God is also omniscient. He knows all things, such that the neediness of the earth and its inhabitants is not hidden from Him. He is the God Who Sees. He is also the God who entered the disordered mess of our earthly existence and can be touched by the feeling of our infirmities. So He is the God Who Sees and knows, as one walking through the fire with us, the weight of our earthly existence.
God’s love is holy. It is pure and perfect-set apart. It is not the hot and fluctuating air of emotions. It is pure goodness mobilized to provide for that which cannot be sustained without it. It is God’s work on our behalf. And what has God’s work on our behalf been? The Bible says, “ Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10, CSB).
God’s work on our behalf was to suffer in our place, forever paying off the debt we had accrued due to our rebellion against Him. He died because of who we were. But, on the third day in accordance with His own righteousness (goodness), He got up from the grave with all power and authority in His hands. And with those hands He extended to us the glorious promise that, “who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, CSB). And to all, who relied on the work of God on their behalf, were given the gift of His Holy Spirit - the fullness of God dwelling within them to make them obedient to righteousness and victorious over the power of sin in their lives. (John 15:26, Ephesians 1:13 and Romans 6: 15 - 23).
God’s work on our behalf involved profound suffering. He made Himself, though He was without sin, subject to the wrath of God we had earned. On that cross, as the darkness assailed Him, He saw the back of His Father. It seemed on that Friday, as it often seems in our clearly disordered world, that darkness had won. It seemed that suffering was but an instrument of death. But, pay attention to the good news you’ve heard before-He got up! When darkness had emptied its arsenals on our Savior’s body, His faithful love proved stronger! What was this suffering then, but a prelude to the reign of eternal life?
And as it was for our Savior, so it is for us who continue on account of His sacrifice. We suffer, but not as those without hope. We have an expectation that God is able to work in us an eternal weight of glory that makes the afflictions of this world light in comparison. God has toppled the kingdom of darkness on its head. Its weapons cannot destroy the child of God. No, God guards us. He protects our very lives. (Isaiah 54:17 and Psalm 121). Disrupting every purpose of the darkness, so that suffering is but a prelude to the reign of eternal life in our mortal bodies and in the life to come. (2 Corinthians 4: 7 - 18 and 1 Corinthians 15: 35 - 58).
While we are here, beloved, let us hold firm to the glorious promise that awaits sight: freedom from the presence of sin and its effects, when we will be raised from the dead, given our redeemed bodies and live as effective bearers of His image, under the awesome reign of our King. (1 Corinthians 15: 35 - 58). There will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain. No more. (Revelation 21).
God’s love is not wanting. It is mighty. It has proved effective and surely it fills the earth and that is why we have not perished. It sustains us with the hope of our final redemption. (Romans 8:22 - 24). And we know that in our weakness we are not left alone, but the Spirit prays for us according to the good and pleasing will of the Father. (Romans 8: 26 - 27). We are comforted because as lovers of God, and not this world, that all things will work together for our good. (Romans 8:28).
Note: The second piece in March's series was our second Quarterly Be-Held Book Community Intercessory Prayer, shared with subscribers via email. If you'd like to ensure that you never miss a beat, subscribe to receive your weekly encouragement in Jesus Christ straight to your inbox. This piece is the third in March's series, focused on the theme of "Home: where we are from, where we are and where we are going". We hope you are blessed by our love offering. If you are, take care and then bless many by inviting a sister to subscribe or sharing the message directly with her.
.As Be-Held Women we believe that true self-care is accomplished in a lifestyle of intimacy with Jesus Christ. We take care by drawing near to God through seeking and living the truth of God’s Word, by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit. We are confident that in living the truth by His Holy Spirit we will be transformed into women who bear the image of Jesus Christ in spirit, soul and body-women who are empowered to bless many. Dear Be-Held Woman, seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God's Word, we offer you this Bible study guide to support you in your endeavors! Apply it to this week's Scripture readings.
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God who believes that as we seek the truth of God's Word, and humble ourselves to live in agreement with it, that we will experience the transformation which allows us to enter wholistic wellness: spirit, soul and body. She is the Founder and President of EarthBasic and leads its Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together.