This is the final post in the series “God’s Love is the Greatest Love.” To read the previous post, click here.
For it is not an enemy who taunts me—
then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together;
within God’s house we walked in the throng.
~ Psalm 55.12-14, ESV
Next to grief, betrayal is the most lingering pain.
Some betrayals—like adultery—stagger us in their severity. Others are “microbetrayals,” slowly poisoning a relationship until it is beyond healing.
We are a faithless society. The sense of duty has been drummed out of our collective conscious in favor of passion. Passion is fickle by nature. If we love only when we feel like loving, or act only when we feel like acting, then our relationships will never have any staying power. This is why divorce is rampant, patriotism is passé, and “organized religion” is repugnant. If we tie ourselves down too deeply, we will feel the pain too profoundly.
Our society has green-lighted divorce for pretty much any reason with the result that children for two generations struggle with rejection and abandonment on a deep and abiding level. The exposure of endless corruption within our government makes patriotism look sleazy. The sexual abuse of children by pastors and priests makes religion revolting. These are but a handful of the major betrayals that make commitment a dirty word to the Xennial and Millennial generations. We commit, instead, to intangibles like Facebook where we can have lots “friends” we hold at bandwidth-length, revealing only what we want people to see, even going so far as to photoshop our flaws away…
We strive to protect ourselves in vain, for where there are people, there will always be disappointment.
God’s love is so much greater than the love of our fellow humans.
God loves you with a love that doesn’t lose its potency. He doesn’t forget about you. He doesn’t drop you for someone better. He will never betray you.
“You are loved with an Everlasting Love”
In my senior year of high school, I started listening to Elisabeth Elliot’s Gateway to Joy radio program. She began each day with the phrase, “You are loved with an everlasting love, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
During my teens and early adulthood, I felt unloved and unlovable. I think most teens feel that way, but I don’t know if this feeling ever leaves us as we grow older. It is in this tumultuous time that we discover the bitter pangs of unrequited love, the disappointment of friendships lost, and the imperfections of our once perfect parents. Our childlike trust in people is irreparably shattered, leaving us with a nagging insecurity.
Elisabeth’s repetitive introduction was something I needed to hear every day (and still do). Even as I approach “middle age,” those feelings of insignificance linger. I could be mistaken, but I believe there are many who grapple with these same difficulties.
Satan wants us to feel unloved and unlovable. He wants us to doubt the fidelity of God’s Love, abandoning Him for something else.
Don’t listen to the Prince of Lies. Listen to the truth:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”
~ Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV
God’s love is as faithful as He is. I urge you, as you read the Bible, to be on the look out for every promise of God and it’s fulfillment. We serve a God who keeps His promises. Write down examples of His faithful love. Store them up in your heart.
Jesus knows the bitterness of betrayal.
God won’t betray you, nor will Jesus, because they know what it is to be let down…
As Jesus approached His crucifixion, betrayal poured in like a flood. Jesus, the comforter of the weary, was left to weep alone in agony. Abandoned, Denied, and Betrayed—all in one night.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples to watch for him. He rose from His highly emotional prayer, and walked over to His closest friends. A tangible hug or a reassuring hand on the shoulder would have been great. But no… they were snoozing away… Some friends!
You can almost hear the palpable disappointment as he murmured, “…Could you not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40).
He needed them and they were asleep.
This cycle is repeated two more times. He prays. He goes to them. They are sleeping.
But wait, there’s more…
After Jesus is led away to be tried, Peter lets him down again. Yeah, that Peter. The “I-would-never-abandon-you” Peter. Some strangers recognize this big fisherman while Jesus is being tried—“You also were with Jesus”—and he vehemently denies any association with “the man.”
And, of course, there was Judas. You knew we’d get to him eventually. His very name is synonymous with betrayal.
Judas was well-acquainted with Jesus’ fathomless compassion, his lack of deceit… and yet, he betrayed Jesus to a brutal death.
We cannot accuse God or Jesus of failing to understand what we are going through; they understand this pain intimately. They won’t abandon us in our time of need.
God will not betray us.
Some people think God betrays us or “lets us down” when things don’t go the way we think they ought to. Of course, this part of theology is indescribably complex.
It all boils down to knowing God.
- God’s ways are wiser than my ways.
- God wants the best for me.
My idea of the “best” may not actually be “best.” God’s purpose for me may be quite humble by worldly standards. My job is to give God my “best” and trust Him with the rest. I may not always understand the outcome, but that is why we have the Bible. After all, the real joy lies not in this life, but the next.
God knows everything about us—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and He still loves us.
Every heartbeat is heard, every hair on your head accounted for. He knows every sin, every resentment, and every evil thought locked away in your heart.
He knows about that time when _________…
…and that other time you __________…
…and that awful thing you did to_____________…
He knows all of it… and He still loves you.
If you are human, you have likely been left bleeding in the dust at some point. You might think God wasn’t there then or isn’t here for you now… but He is. The moment all other supports fail is the moment you will see God most clearly.
[God] Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
~ Hebrews 13.5-6, NASB
This is the final post in the series, “God’s Love is the Greatest Love.” I hope you have drawn comfort and reassurance in this series. We all have seasons/moments/days when we feel lonely. The world is an uncertain place, but God is a safe place. Rest in Him, dear friends, and find peace.
If I devoted the whole of this blog to this topic for the rest of my life, there’s no way I could cover every facet of God’s love. These posts merely scratch the surface!
If you missed any of the previous posts, links to the series are listed below: