Wednesday, February 5, 2020

When Love Is Repulsed - Martin Wiles

Series: Love Unchained

Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3 NLT
December 2013. California. An unusual military funeral.
Sergeant First Class Joseph Gantt, who fought both in World War II and in the Korean War, was laid to rest. In 1950, he had been captured in Korea and died the following year. His body, however, was not returned. Nor was his death ever confirmed by the North Koreans.
Gantt’s wife, Clara, waited for decades for her husband to come back. She attended meetings with government officials, seeking information about what had happened. She even bought a house. When Clara was ninety-four years old, her husband’s remains were finally brought home for a military funeral with full honors. Finally, she knew his fate.
Clara said to the reporter who interviewed her, “He told me if anything happened to him, he wanted me to remarry. And I told him ‘No, no.’ Here I am, still his wife, and I’m going to remain his wife until the day the Lord calls me home.” Love.
According to Jeremiah, God loved His people, Israel, with an everlasting love, but they had a habit of repulsing His love—at least most of them … and on a regular basis. God continued to love them even though they repulsed His love, but He did send discipline to bring them to their senses.
God’s pattern hasn’t changed. I can repulse His love temporarily, or permanently, yet He continues to love. His nature to love doesn’t mean He won’t discipline me, or punish me if I totally reject Him.
God’s discipline, when it comes, has purpose: For the Lord disciplines those he loves,  and he punishes each one he accepts as his child (Hebrews 12:6). God may hate my sinful or foolish actions, but He loves me too much to let me go my own way without intervening. His intervention, in whatever form He chooses to send it, proves I’m His child. Just as a parent disciplines their child to keep them on the straight and narrow.
The goal of God’s discipline when His love has been repulsed is obedience. Jesus said, If you love me, obey my commandments (John 14:15). When I repulse them, He’ll help me with discipline.
As Clara waited for the government to return her husband’s remains, so God’s love leads Him to lovingly wait on us to follow Him … or to return to Him. 
Don’t repulse God’s love. Accept it, and enjoy life as He designed.
Prayer: Father, we invite Your love into our lives, knowing You loved us so much that You died for our sins.

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