Tag Archives: God’s love

I Am the Branch

For what feels like most of my life, I have had this struggle with my hair.  My desire is for it to grow long, but in the past several years, every beautician I have seen has recommended that I cut it.  There has been so much damage and mistreatment of my hair, the best option was to chop it off and regrow it.  I resisted because I did not understand how cutting it off would help it grow longer.  I did not want to let go, so I held on to my damaged hair which still refused to grow.

I am worthyOnce I was meditating on John 15 (“The Vine and the branches”), and I realized something:  God, the vine dresser, takes away the branches that do not bear fruit.  He prunes the branches that do, so that they may bear more fruit.  My habit was to use this verse as a plea for God to prune me so that I become a branch that does bear fruit.  But the very fact that He prunes me shows that I already bear fruit and He sees the potential in me for more. What an honor it is, for the vine dresser to prune me!

Our society so easily discards things we consider insufficient.  But Our Father is not like that.  He says, “I delight in you.  I see the fruit you bear.  That’s why I prune you.  Because you were made for so much more.”  Even if He sees one pathetically tiny piece of fruit barely hanging on from that branch that I am, He still delights in me.  He sees not that I have barely produced anything.  He only sees the capacity He has in me. It is not about my faults and failures because He declares that I am already clean because of the word which has spoken to me.  It’s not about me.  The star of the vine is the Vine: Jesus.  It’s about God, the vine dresser.  His desire to grow us, use us, and have us to Himself.  Though that love involves us, it isn’t about us.  Submitting to pruning is simply an act of receiving His great love for us.

vinedresserSo a couple of weeks ago, I sat in the stylist’s chair.  A year and a half ago, I argued with her about how I did NOT want my hair cut (even though she offered to simply trim it).  I said, reluctantly, I’m ready to cut it.  I watched the dry, split ends fall to my shoulders.  A part of me was dying inside.  At the end, my hair was more beautiful than I would’ve imagined it would be short.  And it looked so healthy.  I was grateful for putting trust in her.

How much more trust should I place in my God who knows what is and isn’t good for me?  What are you holding that may need to be let go, even if only for a season?  I challenge you to be open to pruning when the time comes.  Because the result is always worth it.


“God Hates Me”

“God hates me.”

So many times, I’ve heard those words. Unfortunately, a few of those times were from my own mouth. Before “FML” became so popular, “God hates me” was the fitting ending for a complaint about a bad situation in one’s life.

It is based off the concept that the circumstances of our lives are determined by how God feels about us.  When things are well, God loves us. If things are terrible, God hates us. Lately, I’ve tried to get through Job in the Old Testament which is paragraph after paragraphs of Job screaming “Why me?  Why do you hate me, God?!” Now don’t get me wrong, the guy had it pretty rough. I can’t really say I blame him, but I think it’s time for a paradigm shift.

“God loves you.”

This is actually also an all-too-common phrase as well. Even to the church, it has lost meaning. What hope is left if even the church has difficulty seeing beyond the words and really experiencing that truth? Bill Johnson said, “It’s all about God loving us, and us knowing it.” We say we know it, but do we really?

I recently came across HOSEA 11 which completely blew my mind. I think the word “frustration” is often misunderstood as being synonymous with anger. Frustration is when you’re trying so deliberately to do something and your plan keeps being foiled. The emotion is more of a disappointment than an anger. In this chapter, you can feel the frustration of God. His heart is so torn between his love for the people and their deliberate disobedience that separates them from himself.  He continues to feed us, teach us, and lead us by the hand. Yet we don’t care that it is him who did it. What really breaks my heart is Hos. 11:7, “For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me.”  (How much more can you dishonor him then by straight-up discounting his love with a phrase like “God hates me” ?)

Suddenly, I find myself turning to Genesis and reading about how he designed all creation and decided that it was “good.” But on the sixth day, when he made human beings, he saw that it was “very good.” He created us in his own image. We were created for LOVE. We were created for PLEASURE. This whole earth, he designed for OUR ENJOYMENT. I suddenly have this deeper revelation that “God LOVES HUMAN BEINGS.”

Say that out loud; over and over. Emphasizing different parts.

“God LOVES human beings.”

“God loves HUMAN BEINGS.”

GOD loves human beings.”

People have forsaken him from generation to generation. We’ve turned to our false gods and idols, over and over again. He has become our genie or distant family member we turn to only when we’re in need. We have become little Frankensteins who have defiled the very purpose of our creation by turning against our Creator.

Yet he still DESIRES us.

A lot of the burnout from the Christian religion, I believe, comes from the fact that we’ve lost touch with that. We’re trying to do it out of our own strength or on principle, but when we can really stay in touch with that, it won’t be just a concept anymore, nor just a worship song.  It will be our LIFESTYLE, and that will be what fuels us.

Will we ever really know how high, how deep, how wide His love is for us?

We have a long way to go.


Zepheniah-inspired Poem

Quiet me with your love
Hold me in your arms
As my tears overflow
Until they have run dry
Surrendering beneath the sound
Of your humming, sweet and low.

Reassure my desperate hopes;
Rejoice over me with your beautiful song
Then I’ll know things will be okay
But more than that,
I’ll know they’ve been okay all along.

Stay here beside me
Until my fears collapse
Beaneath your wings
Making me feel so silly
For ever believing in such things

Stand mightily
Rescue me like the hero
I have always longed for.
Deal with those that oppress me.
Protect me until they are a threat no more.

Bring me back home.
Restore all that’s been stolen from me.
So that I can finally be with you
And walk in all the ways
You’ve created me to be.