August 15 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 91-93; Romans 15:1-13
Running into Love
I have loved you with an everlasting love.
READ JEREMIAH 31:1–9
Nora was tiny, but “Bridget”—the belligerent, six-foot-tall woman glowering down at her—didn’t intimidate her. Bridget couldn’t even say why she had stopped at the crisis pregnancy center; she’d already made up her mind to “get rid of this . . . kid.” So Nora gently asked questions, and Bridget rudely deflected them with profanity-laced tirades. Soon Bridget got up to leave, defiantly declaring her intent to end her pregnancy.
Slipping her small frame between Bridget and the door, Nora asked, “Before you go, may I give you a hug, and may I pray for you?” No one had ever hugged her before—not with healthy intentions, anyway. Suddenly, unexpectedly, the tears came.
Nora beautifully reflects the heart of our God who loved His people Israel “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). The people had stumbled into the hard consequences of their persistent violation of His guidelines. Yet God told them, “I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again” (vv. 3-4).
Bridget’s history is complex. (Many of us can relate.) Until she ran into real love that day, her belief had been that God and His followers would only condemn her. Nora showed her something different: the God who won’t ignore our sin because He loves us beyond imagination. He welcomes us with open arms. We don’t have to keep running.
By Tim Gustafson
REFLECT & PRAY
Father, I so often take Your incredible love for granted. Forgive me, and help me to reflect that love to someone today.
What’s your perception of God? How does it line up with the God you read about in today’s Scripture reading?
Jeremiah offers unusual comfort to survivors of the Babylonian invasion and exile (30:3, 10-11, 24; 31:1). Without offering an immediate promise of rescue, the prophet reminds them of the God who expresses everlasting love and kindness “to us” by promising to help future generations as He did for their ancestors (31:3, 17). However, he offers no expectation of immediate circumstantial relief for those whose hearts remain cold. Instead he uses the remorse of Ephraim, the father of idolatrous northern tribes, to show how the ever-present God longs to show compassion and mercy to those who are resisting Him (vv. 18-22). Mart DeHaan