In meditating on Psalms 31-34 yesterday in the NIV, I was struck by the phrase, “God’s unfailing love.” The psalms are gritty, down to life, unsanitized. We could say that we have to take some of them with a grain of salt, but they reflect where we live and how the righteous in and through Jesus deal with life. Of course I’m saying in Jesus because I fastforward to today and our reading of the psalms as God’s people now.
In a true sense, God’s love is for everyone. After all, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16) and God demonstrates his own love to us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). But God’s unfailing love is experienced only as people put their trust in him. That unfailing love is evident in what God does, precisely in his gifts. But actually everything God does is done out of that love except that the wicked (and the unrighteous), while experiencing good from God’s hand in this life, also from that same love experience something of judgment which someday unless they repent, will be complete.
We have to be careful not to insist on God’s unfailing love looking like something we might expect or imagine. It is a love which does bring comfort and peace, even poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). But when we consider all of scripture and life, and the way we can misconstrue love since our own love, though it can be genuine, has its limitations all the way around, and at times we not only can, but we do violate it (though hopefully never in any sense of betrayal of the one who is loved).
There is one true unfailing love in the world and that is God’s love, the God who is love (1 John 4). All other loves come through creation and new creation from that love. That is the one love we can rely on and draw from so that we might more and more not only receive, but also give that love to all, to the unloveable, even to our enemies. In the same way that God in and through Jesus gave his love to us.
Let us learn to rest in and rely on this love, God’s love, in and through Jesus.