His love transcends all
December 10, 2021 | Kim Cochrane
About the author: Kim Cochrane and her husband Jim are long time members of ZPC and have been involved in a wide variety of ministries. They are enthusiastic attendees of the Wisdom and Wit Adult Sunday School Class and encourage anyone to join on Sundays at 9:30 in Room 201. A retired empty nester, Kim enjoys swimming, reading, and laboring in the yard.
Today's scripture: Psalm 80:1-7
From my mother’s perspective I might have been a handful at times. As a single mom, she had to deal with the four of us on a constant basis. With scarce economic resources, my material wants often outstripped her ability to meet them. Having four children to contend with, our collective emotional needs must have seemed like an endless tidal wave. While I might not have always blamed her for the situation, I certainly felt it would be good of her to fix it. I remember her referring to the absence of a magic wand. These were the days before Harry Potter. She was the parent “on deck” at all times. As such, she was on the receiving end of all the complaints, and general orneriness of the four kids who were as self-absorbed as most young people tend to be.
She got the best and the worst of me (us) every day for years. (Actually, she still does!) She received and absorbed the blows by virtue of her presence and steadfast love. I knew she would never reject me. On the upside, she earned the right to rejoice in my successes because she was instrumental in their achievement. Her constant presence gave me permission to be my true self, not always difficult, certainly never perfect.
This level of authenticity is reflected in the words of the psalmist. Here God is being called out for the abysmal circumstances in which his people find themselves. Really, God, what are you thinking? He’s accused of serving them tears to eat and drink. God is being blamed for disputes with their neighbors and the mocking hostility they are receiving from their enemies. For me, the mocking would be the most painful. To this day I wilt if I’m mocked. My mom had a “no mocking” rule in our house growing up. If this is truly how the psalmist feels, and it certainly reads that way, he evidently feels free to take God to task. This is a miserable situation that needs fixing! The psalmist implores God to make his face shine upon them, that they may be saved!
Even so, this brutal criticism directed toward the King of the Universe does not cause the Almighty God to turn away! God’s desire for relationship with and the redemption of his people transcends all. His love transcends all.
Beyond verse 7, the psalmist regains some perspective and begins to recount the Lord’s goodness, finally beseeching, for a third time, to “make his face shine upon them, that they may be saved.” The author knows what we know, God will never leave us.
Not only does God accept our honesty, he wants our honesty. With unbounded love, God joins us in the midst of our deepest despair, fear, and pain. Jesus the Christ, Emmanuel, God with us, stepped into this world to rescue and restore us. This is a gift we are called to proclaim. He is a God who longs for our best and our worst. Honestly sharing God’s willingness to walk with us despite our vulnerabilities can be an invitation for others to turn to him. Our imperfections cannot run deeper than his love. As Christ followers we have already received the saving grace of the risen Lord, even as we wait to celebrate his birth.
Thank someone for loving you despite some recent indiscretion on your part.
We come as we are, knowing that you know us better than we know ourselves, yet you love us still. Continue to restore us, O God, make your face shine upon us. Thank you for saving us through your Son, Jesus, Emmanuel.