God’s Love for the Lonely
Do you feel alone today? Are there ways in which you feel alienated and unloved? Do you feel misrepresented or misunderstood? Do you feel passed by and taken for granted? Do you feel broken and in need of repair? Do you struggle to find reasons to continue? Do you wonder if it’s worth it? Does it seem that there’s no one to share your heart with? Do you sometimes wonder whether anyone cares? When the waves of loneliness and discouragement roll over you, where do you run, where do you hide?
I love the depiction of God’s tender care in Isaiah 42:3: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.” What a beautiful word picture! Imagine walking through the bush and coming across a young tree with a bent and almost broken limb hanging at a rather grotesque angle. You spontaneously complete the job, ripping the limb completely off. Your heavenly Father would never, ever be that thoughtless. He wouldn’t think of breaking you the rest of the way.
He comes to you in grace to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and restore. His love toward you is tender and faithful. He is near you when it seems no one else is. He will care for you when no one else does. He will heal your wounds when no one around you seems to see how wounded you are. He will never mock or take advantage of your weakness. He will not let you go unnoticed or disregarded. If you are his child, it is impossible for you to be alone and unloved because your heavenly Father is with you and reaches out to you in tender, restoring love.
Imagine that the final little flame on the stick that is giving you light is faintly flickering and about to die. In an act of impatience and frustration, you reach out with your finger and snuff the final life out of it. Your heavenly Father would never think of doing that to you. In grace, he comes to you as a life-giver, not a life-destroyer. When your hope is fading and your faith is weak, he is not impatient and he does not grow frustrated. His beautiful mercy breathes life into your heart and vitality into your soul. He is slow to anger and abounding in mercy. He is the source of all true compassion. He really is the Father of comfort. He is a tender High Priest who is touched by our feeling of weakness and offers us just the mercy we need in our time of need. He is the ever-faithful friend. He is the Father who invites us onto his lap to be comforted by his love. Yes, life can be very hard, people can be very cruel, and there are times when you are left alone, but you are never completely alone because your Father is with you in tender restorative love.
Who Are You?
Who in the world do you think you are? I’m serious. Who do you think you are? You and I are always assigning to ourselves some kind of identity. And the things that you and I do are shaped by the identity that we have given ourselves. So it’s important to acknowledge that God has not just forgiven you (and that is a wonderful thing), but he has also given you a brand-new identity. If you’re God’s child, you are now a son or daughter of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You are in the family of the Savior, who is your friend and brother. You are the temple where the Spirit of God now lives. Yes, it really is true—you’ve been given a radically new identity.
You are never completely alone because your Father is with you in tender restorative love.
The problem, sadly, is that many of us live in a constant, or at least a rather regular, state of identity amnesia. We forget who we are, and when we do, we begin to give way to doubt, fear, and timidity. Identity amnesia makes you feel poor when in fact you are rich. It makes you feel foolish when in fact you are in a personal relationship with the One who is wisdom. It makes you feel unable when in fact you have been blessed with strength. It makes you feel alone when in fact, since the Spirit lives inside of you, it is impossible for you to be alone. You feel unloved when in fact, as a child of the heavenly Father, you have been graced with eternal love. You feel like you don’t measure up when in fact the Savior measured up on your behalf. Identity amnesia sucks the life out of your Christianity in the right here, right now moment in which all of us live.
If you’ve forgotten who you are in Christ, what are you left with? You’re left with Christless Christianity, which is little more than a system of theology and rules. And you know that if all you needed was theology and rules, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come. All God would have needed to do was drop the Bible down on you and walk away. But he didn’t walk away; he invaded your life as Father, Savior, and Helper. By grace, he made you a part of his family. By grace, he made you the place where he lives. And he did all this so that you not only would receive his forgiveness, but so that you would have everything you need for life and godliness.
So if you’re his child, ward off the fear that knocks on your door by remembering who God is and who you’ve become as his chosen child. And don’t just celebrate his grace; let it reshape the way you live today and the tomorrows that follow.
This article is adapted from New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp.
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