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Two-hundred-twenty-two-thousand-two-hundred-and-twenty-two.  Wow.  Our incredible van recently pulled out the cool mileage of 222,222 on the odometer.  It’s been an “Ebenezer” to us, reminding us that, thus far the Lord has helped us. (1 Samuel 7:12)  We’ve never named it before, but maybe it’s time.  It failed inspection yesterday, which I find both reassuring and faith-building.  Count it pure joy, we’re told.  It’s reassuring that God is still in control and that He hasn’t changed.  Our faith grows when we’re faced with trials of different kinds.  This particular trial comes on the heels of some recent study and thoughts I’ve had on God’s love.

So often we think of God’s love as a tidy package in perfect wrapping, tied with a bow.  I just finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  My heart feathers have been ruffled in a good way.  I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s crazy love.  In Ephesians, Paul prayed that we would know that love now.  How can we know this love that surpasses knowledge?  I think one of the first ways is to stop putting our own definitions and expectations on God’s love.  Stop equating God’s love with blessing, ease, and provision.  God promises to always love us, but He didn’t promise that we would be free from pain, sickness, heartache, trials, and even death.  No, He rather promises that these things won’t separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39)  There is no aspect of God’s love that promises you peace, safety, and posperity.  When we’re faced with trials of every kind, these things should test our faith and in turn increase our knowledge of God’s love.  We are such emotional creatures.  If God allows us to suffer, we think He has stopped loving us.  Our mindset in this culture is to eliminate all difficulty, pain and discomfort.  I’m not saying we should all switch our water-heaters off or start walking everywhere.  I’m not actually saying anything, except that we need to examine ourselves to see if we’ve placed such a high priority on safety and comfort at the expense of reliance and trust in God.

Complacency and ease are often the very things which wedge our hearts farther from a true knowledge of Him and His love.  When we face really hard things, they either break us or make us.  I hope and pray that my faith in an unchageable God will grow stronger through fire.

Ebenzer.  Thus far the Lord has helped us.  I am persuaded.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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