I hope you’re having a relaxing and fun summer! I know mine has been – the lack of homework has been a bit of a shock to the system, I have to say. I’ve been sleeping in, reading a lot, and spending time with God – three things I haven’t been able to do much during the school year. So far, I’ve been able to keep up with my Bible reading and I am now onto Jeremiah, and let me just say that it’s been hard not to get depressed while powering through the book of Jeremiah! Jeremiah was a prophet during the time period described in 2 Kings, and his job was basically to deliver bad news to the people of Judah. God had warned them many, many times over the years not to serve idols, but to serve only Him, and these stiff-necked people just wouldn’t obey. They were determined to keep their evil ways and keep sinning against God. So God finally put His foot down and said “enough’s enough,” and Jeremiah was the guy responsible for warning all the stubborn, wicked people of Judah to turn from their ways before God brought disaster on them. Of course, this was NOT what the people wanted to hear, and Jeremiah was mocked, imprisoned, and threatened with death, all for doing God’s work.
Of course the people of Judah deserved every bit of the trouble that God was planning to bring on them. They had been persistent in their wicked ways, serving gods of other peoples, worthless, powerless images that were created by human hands, even after being warned not to. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes bad things happen when no one has done anything to deserve it. Sometimes bad things happen and there is no explanation. Sometimes bad things happen to the kindest, most generous, and most faithful of people. When this happens, we start to wonder, “Does God really love us?” The Bible tells us that He loves us always, and that His mercy is great, but when horrible things happen to people for no reason at all, it is not easy to believe that.
Just a few weeks ago, in church, the choir sang a passage that really touched me. Usually I recycle the bulletins after the service, but this time I held on to it. When I got home, I cut out the lyrics of the passage the choir sang, which I found just so beautiful, and tacked it up on the bulletin board beside my desk. Whenever I read the lyrics of the poem, called “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy,” I feel a certain peace come over me. The poem offers gentle reassurance of God’s great love and kindness, and it is a sweet, simple reminder that we are loved and forgiven no matter what. It brought me great comfort, and I hope it will do the same for you.
“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea;
there’s a kindness in His justice which is more than liberty.
There is no place where Earth’s sorrows are more felt than up in Heaven;
there is no place where Earth’s failings have such kindly judgement given.
There is welcome for the sinner, and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior; there is healing in His blood.
There is grace enough for thousands of new worlds as great as this;
there is room for fresh creations in that upper home of bliss.
For the love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind;
and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.
There is plentiful redemption in the blood that has been shed;
there is joy for all the members in the sorrows of the Head.
‘Tis not all we owe to Jesus; it is something more than all;
greater good because of evil, larger mercy through the fall.
If our love were but more simple, we should take Him at His word;
and our lives would be all sunshine in the sweetness of our Lord.
Souls of men! why will ye scatter like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts! why will ye wander from a love so true and deep?
It is God: His love looks mighty, but is mightier than it seems;
’tis our Father: and His fondness goes far out beyond our dreams.
But we make His love too narrow by false limits of our own;
and we magnify His strictness with a zeal He will not own.
Was there ever kinder shepherd, half so gentle, half so sweet,
as the Savior who would have us come and gather at His feet?”
~ Frederick W. Faber
I think these lyrics are just lovely. They are written in a very simple, almost childish manner, but the message comes across loud and clear: God loves us! He loves me, and He loves you! I hope this poem brings you comfort and peace today, as it did for me, and helps you to know the Father a little bit more.
Your friend, Olivia