Loving God no matter what
Job 13:15 “Though he slay me , yet will I trust in him…” KJV
Every once in a while I come across men and women who seem to love God for Himself and they challenge me and my own ideas about what it is to love God unselfishly. So often we tend to link our attitudes about God to what He has done for us. We get so excited when God comes through for us in some miraculous way or when He turns around an impossible situation. At times like that, we are ready to tell the whole world what a wonderful God we serve and how we just love Him so much. And that’s understandable.
But I think that faith must learn a deeper test – to trust God’s silence when He does not speak, to hold fast in the midst of our pain and disappointment. Until we can stand in the crucible of despair and desolation and still praise Him, our faith will remain a shallow thing.
He is the Lord whatever happens. He is God Almighty whether or not He chooses to respond to us in the way we expect or demand. Whatever happens He is still worthy of praise and worthy to be worshipped. If we can only find to worship Him when He does our bidding then we only value what He can do for us and not value Him for Himself.
I read a story about a woman named Charlotte Elliott who lived in England from 1789-1871. By all counts she was an incredible woman. You may not know her but you might know one of the great hymns she wrote called “Just as I am.” Here are a few verses from that hymn:
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Her words will be more poignant to you if you knew that at the age of thirty she became an invalid and remained so for the rest of her life. About her physical condition, Elliott wrote: “My Heavenly Father knows, and He alone, what it is, day after day, and hour after hour, to fight against bodily feelings of almost overpowering weakness and languor and exhaustion, to resolve, as He enables me to do, not to yield to the slothfulness, the depression, the irritability, such as a body causes me to long to indulge, but to rise every morning determined on taking this for my motto, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Elliott went on to write more than 150 hymns that told of her love for God and of His mercy and love for her. She refused to judge God through the lens of her own painful physical condition but saw Him as He was – the Lord, worthy of all praise and honour. That’s unselfish love for God.
I look at that and I can only cry out to the Holy Spirit to stretch my heart to love God unconditionally, to give me the kind of revelation of God that Elliott had, and her passion for Him too.