One thing I have found out about God…is that His will is pure kindness towards us…i.e. towards those who have been made righteous … as well as those who have not yet.
And in that nature of kindness, He has a crown He ultimately wants to put on our heads … a crown of lovingkindness. Which makes sense, because He wants us to be like Him. And in fact, to those He has redeemed, that crown of lovingkindness shows up on our heads in this life. It’s actually His crown.
A reference verse in the Bible is, “who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” Psalms 103.8
Personally, my wife and I had felt the need to leave a church we had lovingly attended for over 30 years. It was like a divorce in feeling, maybe worse. I had personally felt afterwards, because of the teachings we had received, that if we left, God wouldn’t go with us.
We had also been taught, that we had been a “called out people, from a called out people”, and that our pastor was a special man of God. It was almost like we were in Harvard, and so leaving to go to a lesser school, would be pointless.
It was without doubt, the darkest period of my life, when we left. I felt shipwrecked, marooned. But not by God, but by the ideas that we had been taught.
Enter God’s lovingkindness!
Without a plan, without cleverness of any sort operating in me, without any hope of ever finding my way back to God again, things started to happen.
The first thing I realized was, that God hadn’t abandoned us at all. Things that could only come from the favor of God started to roll into our lives. It was actually His deliberate lovingkindness rolling in.. to let us know with certainty, that His kindness was for us. It’s very hard to describe. But it would be like a loving wife being at your side when you were battling some terrifying disease. That loving support, which is beyond priceless, that faithful loyalty, that holds you up, when you can no longer hold yourself up. That moves in to shelter…when you can’t protect yourself. That establishes a perimeter of safety around you. And flows it’s love to you when you don’t have the strength to even reach for it.
So in the midst of feeling & experiencing the sustaining hand of God all around us, we walked into a sanctuary in Bainbridge, Ohio, and heard some of the most beautiful (and healing) gospel music we had ever heard. My wife and I literally cried for most of the service. BTW, we still cry when singing praises to the One who is worthy…which further acknowledges that the love for God, and actually from God, is alive in our hearts. Our hearts literally overflow with gratitude today while we are singing.
It was like a rescue-helicopter had come for us…and arrived with hot food, when we felt as if we had been stranded on a cold glacier, starving, with legs broken, and no way to save ourselves. The Lord himself came to rescue us. Our response naturally now is to love Him more than we ever knew how, for we have seen that Grace stretches far beyond what we had known. The lovingkindness of God, goes way beyond what man thinks…or can measure. Man falls way short in trying to measure the boundaries of it.
It turned out we weren’t stranded at all. Rather, God’s rescue was in operation before we even knew it was happening.
The lovingkindness of God. I had read about that lovingkindness in David’s writings for years. But I was experiencing it for myself. “Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies.” (Psalms 103.8) I realize now that God doesn’t give up on people easily. No, not at all. His arm stretches a lot further than we thought.
I’ll say, lastly, that if God was not actually geared towards far-reaching lovingkindness, none of us would ever have the privilege of finding peaceful terms with Him. In other words, none of us could get saved…if there hadn’t been a loving and kind God, first of all, putting a plan in motion to rescue us, from the kingdom of darkness we were servants to. He was yearning … to bring us into fellowship with Him, and He himself…put a plan in motion to do something about it. It all started with God. If you haven’t found peace with God yet, if your actions are still at war with Him, just know the rescue helicopter is on the way.
And thank the Good Lord, He will finish our salvation as well, walking with us … as we battle invisible forces of cunning and hatred for right. That great big loving heart of God will be with us… until we meet Him face to face.