Monday, January 30, 2012

Just Because

Have you read Genesis lately? The part about the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?

This year I'm realizing all over again what a mess they were. None of them had what we would call peaceful domestic circumstances, what with wives fighting for rights or exploiting the husband's fading eyesight and appetite for stew. The children were no better, swindling inheritance or selling little brother into slavery and pretending he was killed by wild animals. All of them displayed a penchant for lying to keep out of harm's way or even just to get what they wanted. They did eventually arrive at a place of faith and obedience, but not by a straight road.

All the same, God chose these men, checkered histories and all, as the founding fathers of a new nation. He explains the reason for the whole Project Israel to Moses later on:
“The LORD was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers, He brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (Deut. 7:7-8, HCSB).
Why did God choose and redeem Israel? Why did He love them? "Because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that He swore." He loved them because He loved them, not for anything great in themselves, but "just because." Once the oath was sworn to Abraham, He would prove faithful to keep it, but it was His sovereign, inscrutable choice to swear that oath to begin with.

Lest I think I'm above all this and somehow earned and must work to keep His favor, His God-breathed Word testifies in the New Testament, as well, that His love is not earned and our messy selves do not disqualify us.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Eph. 2:4-5, NASB).
He loved us, He loved me, even when we were dead in our transgressions. Our perfection or efforts toward it do not save us and give us eternal life; His love, mercy, and grace do.

Beloved, if this finds you despairing of all the ways you fall short of your standard or God's, if you feel perhaps you have messed life up too badly for God ever to love or use you, may God encourage you as He is encouraging me: He loves you just because He loves you. Let us lean into that love He showed us in giving His only Son Jesus on the cross for our redemption, that love He continues to pour out on us every day in more ways than we can number. May the Creator of heaven and earth open our eyes to all the ways He's saying, "I love you," today.

Some of the ways He's loved me this past week:
2872. The gift of hearing His voice in His Word
2873. The second doctor confirmed that whatever's going on with my knees is not serious
2874. Decreased knee pain
2875. A fresh prescription for several more PT sessions in February
2876. Prayers wrapping me up in God's peace
2877. A book gift arriving in the post
2878. My sister's journey north to serve a grieving family by providing music for her friend's funeral
2879. Believers dying in faith and honor
2880. The joie de vivre and devotion  to family and church exemplified by my husband's late uncle
2881. "All clear" on a non-routine routine lab test
2882. A friend's companionship during the test and waiting for results
2883. More laughter with a girlfriend than I've had in quite some time
2884. One last birthday luncheon
2885. Beautiful, pseudo-spring weather
2886. Grace for a hard conversation
2887. "I am with you always"
2888. A new tv making husband grin
2889. A good home for the old one

The reading schedule I'm following this year was developed many years ago by Robert Murray M'Cheyne and can be found here:
If you would like some creative gratitude prompts for February, Ann Voskamp has provided a beautiful, printable list here:


  1. It is so helpful to consider those lives of the people in Genesis through all the messes, not just the finished product. Love the way you guide us through them here.
    Appreciate the width and depth of your gratitude list. Yes! to decreased knee pain:)

  2. Thank you, friend. And for the health information you sent. Now off to your bloggy home!

  3. Makes me think of that hymn: "Oh how He loves you! Oh how He loves me! Oh how He loves you and me!"

  4. Yes, he does. God loves you, friend, and so do I.

  5. Glad your knees are doing better. Sometimes it is just a relief to have the pain switch to another area of the body for a while! Enjoying a psuedo-spring day ourselves here in the Mid-west. I'm so glad my children can get out and run, jump, and get dirty in the sunshine.

  6. i'm thankful that the medical news is good, and for that laughter with your girlfriend. it's always good to reminded that God's love for us rests not on the (at best) shaky ground of our lovability, but on the unshakeable ground of His lovingness...

  7. That "just because" love is the hardest kind--we mostly love because someone is our family, our friend, our kindred spirit, our brother or sister in Christ. So seldom do we choose to love when there's no indication that there will be love in return. And this, I suppose, is the great struggle to accept that God really does love us unconditionally--especially since we are each so intimately acquainted with all the reasons we aren't lovable. As always, good thoughts here--and much-needed reminders to rest in His Love and stop trying to be "good enough." Thank you, Friend.

    And so many wonderful "I love you's" on the list this week...the laughter with a girlfriend, though, is my favorite. Because sometimes laughter really is the best medicine of all.

    Wishing you more days of decreased pain and increased laughter :o).

  8. Amen to the laughter medicine thought! Yes, it's hard for me to stop trying to earn, too. He is patient. May you rest in His delight tonight.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.