Joe Sperling posted a meditation today on the Assembly bulletin board. What he says it so true, it deserves a larger audience. (In case you’re an Assemblyite who can’t hear the phrase “The Lord” without a shudder, try reading this and substituting the name “Jesus”.)
“For I am the Lord, I change not,” (Mal. 3:6). I like to read the old Puritan books. Though many of them were written about 350 years ago, they are surprisingly filled with comfort and encouragement. There are many titles, but I have noticed a common thread running through them when talking about trials, testing, and the doubts the enemy can put into our minds concerning the Love of God. They state that when these doubts assail you, remember the Lord’s comforts and mercies from the past towards you. David does the same thing in the Psalms, recalling the Lord’s dealings with him in the past, and recalling his mercy and lovingkindness. Though you may not feel much love coming from God in the present situation, his love has not changed one bit from the love you may have felt or sensed overwhelmingly in the past. Nothing can change the love that God has for you. We may displease and sadden the Lord with our actions, as the Puritans put it, but nothing can change the deep abiding love He has for us.
He may also remove all sense of comfort, despite obedience, to teach more and more to walk by faith alone. This may be termed as “desertion” in the Biblical sense, when any sense of God’s love is removed, and we are faced with darkness. But His love has not decreased. In fact, he is allowing this because of his deep love and desire for us to trust in His Word alone, and to grow in grace.”As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him“.
Children often displease and sadden their parents, but those parents will always love those children. And if we finite humans display that kind of love, imagine how much infinitely greater God’s love for his own children would be!!! “Nothing can separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:38).
When you look at your Bible, has any word within it changed during your life, with all the ups and downs, all the tests and trials, all the times on the mountain tops, or walking through the valley of the shadow of death? Not one promise, not one word has ever changed. God has “exalted His Word above all His Name“—and as we know, his words are always “fathful and true“.
Though we may be tempted at times to think that maybe God’s love has lessened towards us, or wavered, because of something we have done…or think something has changed simply because we have a tendency to walk by feelings and not by faith, we need to remember the words, “I am the Lord, I change not“. We need to simply return to child-like trust in a most merciful, loving and forgiving God and Father. I just wanted to share this because these thoughts really blessed me today.
It helps, when thinking of our past relationship with God in the Assembly, to distinguish between what transpired between us and Jesus privately, and the things that were said and done to us falsely in the name of “the Lord”, e.g. “Brother, you know the Lord wants_____”–you name it, whatever it was that best served our lord George’s interests. But most of us do have memories of times when Jesus did personally guide us, instruct us, and refresh and comfort our souls.