I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3 GW)
"I have borne with you all this time because I love you; anything could have happened to you, but I have not let it, I have shown you infinite longsuffering and patience, and earnest solicitude for your eternal well-being: because I love you, I have kept you alive, and I have brought you to this time and to this place; I have not let you go." Oh, that this might come home to us! We may, all unconsciously, be hearing this message now simply because of this infinite love of God which has been preserving us unto this hour to let us know it. You may think it is quite fortuitous that you are hearing it - just one of the chance happenings of life; but if you knew the truth it is this infinite love of God which has held you to this time in relation to the infinite purposes of that love to let you know it. There is nothing casual about it, there is sovereign love here. "Because I have so loved, because, self-sufficient as I am, I cannot do without you" - oh, mystery of Divine love! - "because I so much wanted you I created you, and now at this moment I am drawing you." We cannot take that in, but that is the teaching of the Word of God... God does not want that kind of love that is not love at all because it gets everything that it wants to satiate its own lusts. That is not love. This love of God must make us like itself, it must be after its own kind. And so, strangely enough, many have come to find the love of God through the dark way of suffering - to discover that God was not their enemy but their friend, when they thought that He was pursuing with the object of destroying them....
Listen again, whoever you may be. If you know yourself only a little you must be amazed at this statement, but if it does not come to you as the most wonderful thing that ever was or could be, there is something grievously the matter with you; that such a One should say to such as WE, "I have loved THEE, with an everlasting love." May God Himself bring that home to us with something of its implication, something of its meaning and value, its glory, its wonder. If He should graciously do that, we shall be worshipers for the rest of our lives; there will be something about us that is in the nature of awe and wonder and we shall go softly. The realization of it will smite all our pride to the dust. There is no room for pride here. This will remove all those horrible things - pride, avarice, covetousness, self-interest, worldly ambition - and we shall be very humble, very grateful people, full of a great longing somehow to requite that love, somehow to win for that One His rights.
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