“No vision of the night can show, no word declare, with what longings of love Divine Love waits till the heart, all weary and sick of itself, turns to its Lord and says, ‘Take full possession.’ There is no need to plead that the love of God shall fill our heart as though He were unwilling to fill us: He is willing as light is willing to flood a room that is opened to its brightness; willing as water is willing to flow into an emptied channel. Love is pressing round us on all sides like air. Cease to resist, and instantly love takes possession.” (If, Amy Carmichael, pages 79-80)
When I consider God and what He has done for me, I am overcome with the wonder of His grace; that He would love me after all that I have done.
It is a humbling thing to be so deeply and undeservedly loved.
If was a poignant reminder of God’s love for me, and it challenged me to seek a greater understanding of His love. With a greater understanding of His love comes a greater overflow of that love through my life; making me a greater blessing to undeserving people just like me. And though it is humbling to be reminded of my own unworthiness, yet I believe it is a necessary part of faith. It is necessary to be humbled and to be reminded that we are loved, not for works or anything we have done, but because Jesus is love and He is God, so He has the power to love every lost soul. But not everyone receives that love; not everyone is rewarded with a place in His Kingdom.
Not long after I finished reading, If, God led me to Matthew 25. Within that chapter, Jesus illustrated what the Kingdom of God is like through three parables: the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats.
In the first parable, ten virgins went to wait for the bridegroom to come, so that they could go to the wedding feast. Five of the virgins brought extra oil for their lamps, while the other five did not. The groom delayed in his coming, so it was late when the cry was heard for everyone to come and meet the bridegroom. The wise virgins trimmed their lamps and set out to the wedding feast, but the foolish virgins had no light, and it was too late for them to buy more oil. They found when they finally reached the door to the wedding feast, that they could not get in, because the door was already shut.
In the second parable, a master gave three of his servants money to manage before he left on a far journey. He gave one servant, five talents, one servant, two talents, and another servant, one talent. When he returned from his journey, he went to his servants to settle accounts with them. He found that the servant given five talents, gained five more, the servant given two talents, gained two more, and the servant given one talent, buried his talent, so it could not multiply. The master rewarded those who allowed his gifts for them to multiply, but he cast out the foolish servant.
Finally, in the third parable, all nations were gathered before the throne, and the Lord separated the peoples, like separating sheep from goats, placing the sheep to His right and the goats to His left. The King said to those on His right, Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me. (34-36) The sheep didn’t remember doing such things for their King, but He explained that when they did those things for the least of these, they did them for Him. The goats, however, did not do as the sheep had done, and they were confused by their condemnation, but their confusion could not buy a way into the kingdom.
After I read those stories, I was left asking: am I one of the foolish virgins, unprepared for the bridegroom’s coming? Am I the servant who hid his masters money and didn’t allow it to grow? Am I standing to the left of my Savior, proclaiming myself to be a sheep when I am really a goat? Have I truly accepted the full love of God and does that show through my life?
When I stand before the throne of God, I want my Abba to say of me that I understood His love and allowed it to flow through my life and multiply. And the only way that can happen is through being humbled, daily, before the throne of my King. I need to always remember His wondrous love for me and I always need to be humble before Him. It is by His grace that I am saved and assured of salvation. It is not as though I need to be saved and ask for salvation on a daily basis, but I do need to live a life that reflects redemption and the love wherewith my Savior loves me. Only by His power can I do anything right and good, so the only way I can grow is through laying all that I am and all that I hope to be at the feet of Jesus; letting His will be done in my life.
I am insufficient to the task of living a holy life, but I desire to be a genuine and passionate member of God’s family, and to make His truth and glory known. And for all my insufficiencies, Jesus intimately knows the cry of my heart, and it is His perfect will to satisfy the purest desires of my heart, so I rest in Him.
I have fallen short of holiness so many times, yet I must humbly proclaim that Jesus has lifted me up every time. Daily, Jesus rescues me from the self-destruction brought about by sin, and He transforms my heart, mind, and life through the power of His Holy Spirit and the truth of His Word. Not everyone will be accepted into His Kingdom, only those who have believed in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; those who have humbled themselves before Him and allowed Him to love through them.
Like I have written so many times before, I have so much to learn, and so much room to grow. If I felt that I had no room to grow, then I would be no better than a Pharisee, feeling sufficient in my own righteousness, but being nothing more than a whitewashed tomb. By God’s grace, I am washed and sanctified on the outside and I am washed and sanctified within; I am truly alive. By God’s grace, when I stand before His throne, I will stand to His right, amongst the confused receivers of grace.
But for now, I rest in His love, proclaim His love, and encourage all of the undeserving to bow before the throne of grace and find the same forgiveness, righteousness, and love that I have found.
And if I should never meet you (the reader) on this earth, I pray that I will meet you amongst a crowd of the joyfully confused before the throne of God.