Every time I listen to the Matt Maher song, Your Love Defends Me, my heart sings it night and day for several days. I guess one might call this meditating on His Word. I sing, over and over, the chorus: “Surely my God is the strength of my soul; Your love defends me. Your love defends me. And when I feel like I’m all alone, Your love defends me. Your love defends me.”
His love defends us. It defends us when the accuser launches his fiery darts at our soul; it defends us when we are tempted to condemn ourselves for all our failures and shortcomings; it defends us when others accuse and condemn us. In fact, there is no other defense – Jesus purchased us with His blood because of His love for us. It defends us.
And it goes without saying that His love is the strength of my soul. That is my only strength and my only defense.
I’ve recently had a new revelation about this concept, though. One that has helped me to forgive.
Okay, so now I’m going to be vulnerably honest –which I almost always am! But this temptation is the hardest for me to admit.
I’ve had another episode of deep, deep grieving lately. I was strolling along through my day a few days ago (one “strolls” through the day when one is semi-retired!), doing quite well – happy, in fact – but when the day began to come to a close, my heart plummeted into the depths of sorrow, once again. So I did what I frequently do when I feel like this and went for a ride. But I forgot to turn on my radio, which is what distracts me enough to pull myself out of the doldrums. I drove around for a half hour or so, plunging deeper and deeper into the pit of sorrow, but unable to cry – which is what gives me relief when I can’t distract myself. I tend to think of this as a “bad” thing – this sorrowful feeling – but sometimes I need to feel it to be able to hear what is actually going on in my thoughts.
I describe my feelings toward my Heavenly Father, regarding the loss of my middle child, as the way a wife might feel toward her husband when he has done something that hurts her deeply. I am completely and totally committed to my marriage, as is my husband, and I love and adore him more than any other human being on this earth. But when he hurts me deeply, it takes me a bit of time to be able to forgive him.
This is how I’ve felt about the Lord, off and on, for the past 3+ years – I love Him like no other, and I am deeply committed to my relationship with Him, as is He with me. But I’ve been so angry and hurt at what He has allowed to occur in my life and the life of my family, that I would appreciate it if He would just sleep on the couch for a while. A long while. I still love Him and I certainly wouldn’t “divorce” Him. But I’ve been really angry with Him. Really, really angry. I still love Him, and I talk to Him and I worship Him, because, after all, He is God – the creator of all things. But I can’t deny my feelings. It would be pointless to try – He knows everything.
So what was my new revelation about the line in the song I love – “Your love defends me”?
His love defends Him, as well.
His love defends Him.
I have been tempted, many times, since my middle son was killed in a car accident a little over 3 years ago, to accuse God of wrong-doing, or of making a mistake, or of simply not being quite as good or as loving as I believed Him to be.
But none of that is true. None of it can possibly be true.
Because God is perfect, flawless, without fault, blameless, just, righteous, kind and good.
Because God is love.
He doesn’t just feel love, or give love, or do loving things, or even personify love.
He IS love.
And whether or not I can understand His actions – or lack thereof – or even accept His judgements, I can believe what I know to be true – that He is love and He is good. And one day, probably not until I too am in heaven, reunited with my son, I will know for sure what I believe now by faith; faith my loving and good Heavenly Father gave to me.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10
“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgements of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:9-11
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19a