"The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." Jeremiah 31:3 NRSV
Today’s verse is God’s assurance given to Jeremiah on the restoration of Israel. As many times in the past, Israel had drifted away from its relationship with God. The Old Testament is filled with the stories of a period of separation followed by a joyous reunion and healing. Frequently, we hear God's delight in the renewed promise, "I will be their God, and they will be my people."
Not surprisingly, it is the human part of the relationship that is the weak link here. We choose to rely on our limited wits and abilities rather than putting our faith in God. We become dissatisfied in our relationship with God because we don't receive the answer we want, or it isn't within our timeframe. Like Israel, we are often too quick to search for a replacement for God. We have an innate need to love, and in trying to fill that need, we turn to other gods.
Of course, the good news in all this is God's love is everlasting. It started before we occupied the cradle and continues beyond our death. When we are off trying to find something else to satisfy, He still loves us. When we behave like petulant children throwing tantrums, His love continues. When we are at our most contrary, and we don't even love ourselves, His love goes on. His love has no end.
As we struggle with responses to COVID-19 and the systematic evil of racism, it is easy for us to become overwhelmed and distracted. We may temporarily lose hope and forget that God is really the one in charge. At times we may be tempted to walk away from His love, but even then, God's love for us remains. He remains faithful to us.
Mighty and loving God, we give thanks for your faithfulness. Forgive us those times we have walked away from your love. We confess, we have not loved you and our neighbors as we should. Despite that, you continue to remain steadfast in your love for us. It is hard for us to comprehend that kind of love. Please help us learn to love as your Son Jesus, purely and completely. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and let all we do glorify you. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
How will you respond to God’s everlasting love?