Wineskins Archive

February 12, 2014

An Irresistible Lord (May-Jun 2002)

Filed under: — @ 12:43 pm and

by Gail Matthews
May-June 2002

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways …” and so begins the well known poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Whether one is a poetry lover or not, few have not heard these lines that immortalized the love relationship between the English poet, Elizabeth, and her beloved Robert. I often use those familiar lines to begin my private praise and worship time with my Lord. And then I reflect, what is it about this God, this Jesus that is so irresistible to me? Why is my heart so captured by Him that I cannot imagine being without Him or not worshiping Him?

Let me count the ways and they are many! In the beginning God created. As a triune being, the Lord knows the joy of complete unity and true fellowship. And we see Him create male and female, wanting, I believe, to have His ultimate created beings experience the joy of pure union. He witnessed the loneliness that existed when there was only one. So He created male and female. Sin entered, and now in this fallen world we struggle to make that unity of male and female a reality. So this God steps into the scene to provide the unity and companionship Himself! Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

He tells us in John 14:16-17 that the other Counselor, His very Spirit, will be with us forever. And not only “with” but indeed He will be “in.” The ultimate unity: my God, within. To borrow the words of Brother Lawrence, as I “practice the presence of God” my unity with Him becomes a more tangible reality day by day. And since this God is characterized by perfect faithfulness, I have no fear that He will ever leave. What draws me to this Lord? The forever togetherness and companionship. Who could resist a God like that?

I must also tell you of His eyes. Eyes tell such a story. They speak of welcome or rejection. They communicate acceptance or judgment. The way my Lord looks at me is a marvel and a mystery. I know how Jesus looks at people by the way He looked at those in Palestine when He was on earth in time-space history. He looked at Peter and saw a rock and began to point him toward that destiny. He looked at John and saw a man of love, not a man of thunder and anger. He then began to mold and train John to be that man. His eyes see what can be, not what is! And Jesus looks at me with those same eyes. I love the words in the song “Mercy Saw Me” which say,

Though I was broken and so lost
Mercy looked past all my faults.
The justice of God saw what I had done
But mercy saw me through the Son
Not what I was but what I could be
Beautiful – that’s how mercy saw me

That’s how Jesus sees me!

Who can resist a God like that?

Having spent the past seven years teaching algebra to middle school students, I have observed over and over again the nearly universal cry from the hearts of young people: Do I matter? Am I important? Adult women have the same need to know. Actually, I need to know! Am I valuable to my Lord and God as a woman?

The world into which Jesus stepped was certainly no field ripe with opportunities for women, culturally or religiously. I am in awe as I observe His interactions with the women in His world. He had true fellowship with them. He taught them. He served them and allowed them to serve Him. I love the way He validated Mary’s spiritual hunger and quest in Luke 10. It communicated to her and to us that, yes, Mary mattered! She was valuable to Him and her spiritual hunger was worthy of being fed. I love the way Jesus carefully taught and led Martha to make the profound statement of faith of which we read in John 11. It communicated to her and to us that, yes, Martha mattered! She was very different in temperament from her sister, but Jesus’ acceptance and love had nothing to do with temperament, gifts or style. It had everything to do with Him.

I love the way Jesus took time to appear to Mary of Magdala immediately after His resurrection (John 20:10-18). There was time for her–time for Jesus to provide comfort, to offer spiritual insight and to assign her an important task. It communicated to her and to us that, yes, she mattered! I need those glimpses into Jesus’ interactions with women. I need them because they let me know that to the heart of Jesus women mattered. In fact, those glimpses let me know that I matter! That validation of personal worth and place of service is invaluable for the human soul – for my soul! Who can resist a God like that?

“How do I love Thee?:” Those of us who believe in Jesus, the Son of God, know that he is coming back. John tells us in I John 3:2 that when Jesus returns, we will see him as he really is–and that he will make us like himself. Remarkable! Now, I must ask, who can resist a God like that?!

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