Love. . .

It’s Valentine month and we all think about roses and chocolates and romantic evenings. Like these folks,

But I’d like to think about another kind of love. God’s love. His grace and mercy, compassion, kindness.

….Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And he relents from doing harm.

Joel 2:13 (NIV)

What captured my imagination about that verse is how it’s translated in The Message. There the last part of the passage reads something like this:

God took a breath and put up with a lot.

And you know what? That made me laugh. Because I can imagine our great God looking down on all the messes we humans make–bad choices about substances and relationships and finances and, well, everything. And then He sees the consequences that we suffer because of all those bad choices and He must have to take a lot of deep breaths.

He must be so very tired of us humans. He sees the wars. He sees how we are destroying this beautiful earth with our disposables and litter and pollution and disbelief that the climate is warming. Our refusal to make “green” choices because we like our gas-powered monsters. How many warnings do we need about polar ice and glaciers melting? How many tornadoes and floods and hurricanes must we witness with the human tragedy and heartache that they cause?

And, what about me personally? At 72 years I should be wiser, yet I still react instead of responding. I am not slow to anger. I am not always kind or merciful or compassionate.

So, God takes a breath and puts up with a lot. I’m glad He does. I’m grateful for his grace and mercy, for the gift of His Son to pay the price for my sins, and for His patience with me. Because I seem to be mentally challenged when it comes to learning spiritual graces and even more negligent about putting them into practice. However, I’ve made some recent choices: to be more intentional about feeding my mind and spirit good things, to be more diligent in Bible study, to be more disciplined in prayer.

I’m going to try to learn to take a few deep breaths myself and put up with whatever comes my way.

Can anyone else relate?

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