While reading this devotional the other night, in my YouVersion app, this one really struck home. At first because of the story of Rich Mullins and his “Ragamuffin band“. I’ve loved Rich’s music for a long time and I came to appreciate his story so much when I saw the movie about his life, Ragamuffin.
I bought the DVD 3-4 years ago and when I first watched it, I cried like a baby. Not only for my compassion for his relationship with he and his father, but because of how parallel it was to my own relationship with my father. I watched part of it again last night on YouTube while preparing for this post and was on the verge of tears again when I closed it. That heart break never goes away even though I made peace with my father before he went on to be with the Lord in 1997. It stays with you.
I was a victim of severe bullying as child. Not only at school (thought that was really bad) but also at home. I taught a Bible study on this and shared my testimony regarding it for my Bible study group and posted it on my YouTube Channel in hopes of it ministering to others. It’s so much more rampant today than it was when I was a child in the 70’s and 80’s and I can’t image it being worse than it was for me, but at the same time I’m so grateful to not have to contend with cyber-bulling the kids have to endure today.
I share that to say this: The worst part of my bullying was the divide it placed between me and my heavenly father. It was really difficult to view my heavenly Father as a loving, giving, compassionate father, when the other father figure I’d ever know, my earthly father, was irate, berating, screaming and shaming. Now I see that my dad was a victim of sin as we all are, and that Jesus died for him just like he did me. My father died with us both loving each other very much. Thank you, Lord! However…those scars remain and those old tapes continue to play in my view of God no matter how much I fight it and stay in the Word and read the truth. I’ve come to understand that it’s a prime weapon of the enemy to discourage me in my faith. The thing I look forward to the most is meeting my Savior face to face and feel His arms of love around me, never again to struggle with the old tapes again.
Having said that…this week’s devotional:
In Awe of Love
Creation discloses a power that baffles our minds and beggars our speech. We are enamored and enchanted by God’s power. We stutter and stammer about God’s holiness. We tremble before God’s majesty…and yet we grow squeamish and skittish before God’s love.
I am flabbergasted by the widespread refusal across this land to think big about a loving God. Like nervous thoroughbreds being guided to the starting gate at Churchill Downs, many Christians bray, bridle, and bolt at the revelation of God’s all-embracing love in Jesus Christ.
In my ministry as a vagabond evangelist, I have encountered shocking resistance to the God whom the Bible defines as Love. The skeptics range from the oily, over-polite professionals who discreetly drop hints of the heresy of universalism, to the Bible thumper who sees only the dusty, robust war God of the Pentateuch, and who insists on restating the cold demands of rule-ridden perfectionism.
Our resistance to the furious love of God may be traced to the church, our parents and pastors, and life itself. They have hidden the face of a compassionate God, we protest, and favored a God of holiness, justice, and wrath.
Yet if we were truly men and women of prayer, our faces set like flint and our hearts laid waste by passion, we would discard our excuses. We would be done with blaming others.
We must go out into a desert of some kind (your backyard will do) and come into a personal experience of the awesome love of God. Then we will nod in knowing agreement with that gifted English mystic Julian of Norwich, “The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” We shall understand why, as Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament notes, in the last years of his life on the island of Patmos, the apostle John wrote, and wrote withmagnificent monotony, of the love of Jesus Christ. As if for the first time, we shall grasp what Paul meant when he said, “But however much sin increased, grace was always greater; so that as sin’s reign brought death, so grace was to rule through saving justice that leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20–21).
What evidences of God’s creative glory in nature impress you most? What evidences of God’s love in your life draw your tears of gratefulness?
“O Lord , our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord , our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalms 8:1-9 ESV
This devotional is from the book, “Ragamuffin Gospel”, by Brennan Manning