In February of 2016, my wife gave birth to our first child, Graham. As infants do, he had a series of doctors appointments the first months and the day finally came when I was going to take him by myself. His mother’s maternity leave was completed and it was time for daddy duty. So like any new parents, I called my mom and said, “Hey, you want to come experience taking Graham to the doctor?” And like any first-time grandparent, she jumped in the car and made it from her home in South Carolina in record time.
Upon her arrival, she was also informed that we needed to use her vehicle as mine was being repaired. Quickly but precisely, I secured Graham’s car seat in my mother’s vehicle and off to the doctor we went! A few minutes down the road I noticed something startling. The gas hand was on empty! I look over at my mom and say, “You know your car is out of gas?” Her response was eerily foreshadowing. “Don’t worry about that,”she said,”we have plenty of gas.”
Timeout. I don’t know about you, but I go to great lengths to not run out of gas- it’s called going to the gas station! But now my mom wants me to trust her that we have enough gas. She doesn’t even know where we are going! If we had been in my car I would be comfortable driving with the gas hand on E. That’s because I have experience running on fumes. I even know that when the low fuel light cuts on that I have AT LEAST 25 more miles. But I have no experience or past situations in her vehicle to give me a sense of peace.
Surprisingly, we ended up making it to the doctors appointment on time, and we didn’t run out of gas in the process. But the whole ordeal was a reminder to me of how we measure or gauge situations or outcomes. We assume something will turn out positive or negative ..good or bad..by how previous experiences or situations have turned out.
In life, there is always a “low fuel light going on.” There is some sort of situation that is pressing, difficult, or out of our control. As Christians, how do we respond to these dilemmas? Do we panic? Despair? Burn with anger?
Regardless of the situation, as people who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the standard for how we measure situations has been set before us.
We measure God’s Love by the Cross and His Power by the Resurrection.
Sunday, I used the story of Noah to illustrate this biblical reality. But the Bible is filled with story after story of God’s attributes being confirmed by His Word being proved.
Because let’s face it,
- If God is all love, but not all powerful = he wouldn’t be worthy of our worship. And at the end of the day, he would have promised things that he could not back up and that would make him a liar.
- If God is all powerful, but not all loving = we should all run in fear knowing that sooner or later we will receive the deserved full wrath of God.
- BUT because God’s revealed attributes are both all loving and all powerful, we can run towards God knowing that He is powerful enough to do anything and His love leads him to work all things to our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
Last week I was watching the highlights from Muhammad Ali’s memorial service. His wife said that Ali often said, “I really want to go to heaven but I need to do a lot of good deeds to get there.” The moment I heard these words my heart broke because I saw a man who I assume went to the grave with the wrong measure of God’s love and power. Those words tell me the story of a man who was looking to his own actions to justify him before God. The truth however, is that God is not impressed (Isaiah 64:6).
God bases His love for you upon our being found “In Christ”(Ephesians 2 – In Christ is a special way of saying, you belong to Jesus!).
I truly believe that all of us are either in a low fuel situation, just got out of one, or we are about to go into one. My hope for you is that you would remember the true measure of God’s love. If God can turn a bloody cross on Friday into an empty tomb on Sunday, he can bring hope into any seemingly hopeless situation. This is the true measure of God’s love. Not your performance. Not your past. Not a highlight reel of your best days or a reel of your worst.
The measure is not, “Have I done enough good?” It’s, “Do I belong to the one who is good”…Jesus?
I pray this helps you grow in your love for Christ, His Church, and His Mission.