Greedy Gratitude 30 Day Devotional
Day 28 - Hope/Part 1
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalm 36:5 NIV
"Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade: To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry, Nor could the scroll contain the whole Though stretched from sky to sky." - The Jewish Poet, Lehman 1050 A.D.
The above poem is very old language and may even have sailed completely over your head like it formerly did mine, but basically what it is saying is this: if you and I and the rest of humanity turned the ocean into ink and the land into pens and then using the sky as our paper we all began to write about how great God’s love is we would never, even as a collective body of roughly six billion people, be able to describe how great His love is.
This Hymnist, known by the name of Lehman, spent most his life trying to describe in his simplest terms how to convey to others God’s ultimate and extravagant love. You may have heard of another Hymnist named David. This is what he writes in Psalm 36:5:
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Now David originally used a Hebrew word known as shamayim meaning the sky and heavens the sun the moon the sky visible to the naked eye. So this got me thinking, I wonder how how far away earth is from the closest star in our solar system. I did some research and found out that if you were to get in your car and attempt to drive there at an average speed of 125mph, it would only take you 114,000 years. That’s how big God’s love was to David and he didn’t have a telescope. Oh how much bigger is God’s love than what David or anyone else could imagine! We can’t even comprehend the vastness of His love no matter how hard we try!
In fact, there are so many stars in our galaxy. Let's say earth is a golf ball, you could fit 7 quadrillion earths inside the galaxy of stars. . Now I know 7 quadrillion is a number that’s sort of hard to comprehend. Let's break it down:
1 million seconds ago, is 12 days ago.
1 billion seconds ago is 1990,
1 trillion seconds ago is 29 BC
1 quadrillion seconds ago is 30 million BC.
Now I tell you again,
7 quadrillion earths,
that’s how huge, how vast and how wide God’s love is for us.
Now I love speaking to and hanging out with youth groups much like this one because you guys love talking about God’s love! When you come to Tribe Jam your soul gets to feel something that often times it doesn’t feel at any other place. I mean it’s obvious, we get together and what’s the first thing we do together? We sing! We raise our arms; we reach for His love.
In Jude 1:21 it says:
Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
The struggle we face is that we don’t stay in that love. As humans, it’s just who we are; we’re constantly going and doing and being and we miss out on this love. Why? Because we don't continually keep ourselves in the love of God. I praise God for Tribe Jam and settings like this to help me stay in that love.
But what about 2 weeks from now, 2 months from now, 2 years from now, when we don’t feel the same hope we feel right now, the hope we feel on a Saturday night or on a Sunday morning or at a Tribe Jam? What about when we are overtaken with hopelessness? When God’s love seems about as far away from us as that star is from earth. When we read verses like the ones found in 1 Samuel 3:
"And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; and visions were infrequent."
What do we do in times when it doesn’t feel like hope can rise? We use expressions like: I’m in a desert, a dry season, it feels as if God isn’t speaking to me or leading me or loving me. We use words like distance, and divide, and division.
Every single follower of Christ can thrive in those dry times! All of you can move forward even though you’re not feeling what you just felt or haven’t been seeing what you just saw. Sometimes a desert can be a growing place.
Maybe the distance you feel from God isn’t something you can measure with a ruler, miles, kilometers, centimeters or fathoms or light years but maybe it’s a matter of character. Maybe it’s a distance of “from the inside out.” God hasn’t gone anywhere, but you have, we have.
Like a father and a son, the father empties his son’s diaper until he no longer needs that specific type of assistance, but if a father was to change the diaper of a son who is a freshman in high school, that would be weird! When you’re a new believer, the Holy Spirit invades you and in a sense really nurtures and helps you grow and learn in those new stages. Maybe the distance you currently feel is because God wants you to grow, to mature, He wants you to have hope because you choose it, not because it’s chosen for you. Hope based not on what you feel but what you know.
I think for me sometimes I’m constantly seeking His hand, by hand I mean blessings, and involvement, deliverance, relief. I’ve only sought his hand but maybe now is the time for me to begin seeking his face? Maybe it’s time for you to do the same.
If you constantly seek His hand, you may miss His face. But if you seek His face you will always recognize His hand.
Maybe the desert is a growing place. Just because you don’t see His face or feel His hand, does not mean that He’s not working on your behalf, in ways that you cannot see. It doesn’t mean he isn’t mending the story together to work out in the end.
Ask Job, or Joseph, or Moses. Their stories looked so bleak and so far from repair; yet, God was working for them in ways they wouldn’t see for decades! And imagine if these men of God had quit when it got tough!
So maybe being able to survive is knowing that the desert truly is a growing place.
Second thing I want you to remember is this, you’re not alone. If you think for one second that no one knows what you’re going through then immediately be accepting of the fact that you are wrong!
ACTION STEP: Step out for a walk sometime during your day alone. While walking, take a moment to think about this amazing God that is walking with you. He knows everything about you...and LOVES YOU JUST THE SAME. Allow the feeling of HOPE rise in our heart knowing you are not alone.