Psalm 31:3-8 (the message)
You’re my cave to hide in,
my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
You won’t drop me,
you’ll never let me down.
I hate all this silly religion,
but you, God, I trust.
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
you saw my pain,
you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches
but gave me room to breathe.
One of the best parts about really knowing Jesus is being safely loved.
Human love is, in itself, flawed and often influenced by the needs of the lover. So often we love people with our need for love coloring everything we do and how we relate. Human love can hurt. It falls short. It never really fixes us or fills those holes in our hearts. We think it might, we hope it will, but when it doesn’t we become disillusioned and discouraged. Sometimes we quit. It can be very painful trying to give and receive love as broken and needy humans.
In the Psalm above, King David writes…You won’t drop me, you’ll never let me down. I love that. It jumped out at me this morning. Why? Because I know what it’s like to be dropped. I know what it’s like for those who should hold you firmly, with your best interests at heart, to let you slip between their fingers. I know that being dropped can shatter all sense of who thought you would be…it can leave you in so many scattered pieces you don’t even begin to know how to recover yourself. And I’ll bet anything you probably know what that’s like, too.
I sucked the life out of my 20’s trying to get someone to put me back together. I let God have His go off and on, but I was so certain if one of my parents or my husband could just keep showering me with magical fairy dust I could live safely loved. It was not to be. I distinctly remember one morning God whispering to my heart…I am the True Vine…and although I was familiar with the scripture that says He is the vine and we are the branches, my heart absorbed a truth I deeply needed in my life that day. I knew He was telling me that HE is my TRUE vine. He is the One who gives me worth. He is the One who created me, fashioned me, designed me. Only He could ever love me the way I need. Only God can nourish me and fill me…not my mother or father and not my husband. They love me. I’ve been loved all my life. But, because humans are imperfect, they dropped me a time or two.
Jesus has never dropped me. Even today, as there are ideas and possibilities and my continued need for spiritual growth and maturity all around me, I know He holds me firmly in His hand. I know He won’t drop me. It’s only with Jesus that I am positively and safely loved. And because of that, I grow more free to love others. My human efforts at love are swallowed in His love. He enables me to love others without the taint of what I want or need in return. And there is nothing like it.
I also loved the second part of the verses above…I hate all this silly religion, but you, God, I trust…you saw my pain…gave me room to breathe. If there is one thing I long to convey on this blog it is that God is not fully met and known in the confines of Sunday morning religion. I get it. I get the good roots or the attempts of “good” men. I get traditions and generations planted in a particular building or denomination. What I would never have gotten was a chance to know Jesus in a way that has changed my life, forever, just in my attempts at sitting in a building or keeping traditions. So, I love that David discriminates between religion and God. Knowing Jesus and being in His presence is meant to change us…heal us…free us…amaze us. If your taste of God has been watered down, if your spiritual palate is satisfied with a bland and powerless version of “religion,” my prayer is that as you read this post your heart will be stirred for more. Jesus is always more. More than you thought. More than you were told. More than you expect. More than you deserve. More than you ask, think or imagine. He sees the pain and only He has the power to change your life. It’s only in His love we find room to breathe.
Perhaps it’s a risk to know Jesus this way. Perhaps we risk our own sense of control. Perhaps we risk the opinions of others. Perhaps we simply risk having things our way. Perhaps we think giving our hearts to Jesus is a risk because maybe He won’t accept us. Maybe all of this gooey, mushy “God is love” talk will turn out to be a hoax. So, in the end some of us continue to take the known risk of hoping other humans will love us enough, accept us the way we are, never give up on us, never drop us. No matter how much another person loves you, they can’t love you perfectly or completely. Only Jesus can do that. But when you let Him love you…when He becomes your cave to hide in, your safe leader, your true mountain guide…When you put your life in His hands you won’t be dropped, you won’t be let down. No matter how hard things are right now…how hopeless or impossible…you can find yourself leaping and singing in the circle of His love….the torment of your pain disarmed…free of the clutches of sin and the past and the present struggle…you’ll find room to breathe. To Heal.
You’ll find yourself Safely Loved.