‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord.

My wife Heather and I met in Russia.  Well, not really but it makes a much better beginning to a story than the reality.  We were in the North Park Choir together for years, but being a choir of nearly 100 singers, we knew OF each other but didn’t KNOW each other.  Until 1993 when the choir toured Sweden, Estonia, and Russia.  Our friends were hanging out together, and we were hanging out with them, so we were, by the transitive property (look it up!), hanging out together.

Heather noticed the attraction first.  For me, it wasn’t until we got home and she sent me a postcard from Alaska where she was living at the time that I noticed it.  When she returned to school for her Junior year, I was beginning my first year of seminary and we began to hang out for the first time outside of Russia.  For the next year we talked and walked and our friendship grew.  By the following summer, we were walking for hours together and continued to grow closer.  Eventually we were engaged, just before I left for a year’s internship in Mankato, MN while she taught in the Chicago inner city.  We were married the next year.

Being human, we love each other because we find the other lovable.  We were attracted to each other for various reasons, and that attraction led us to determine that the other was worthy of the commitment of marriage.

I am eternally grateful that this is not how God loves, not how God’s faithfulness to us works.  You see, if God loved us only because He deemed us lovable, then He wouldn’t love any of us at all.  We are a deeply unlovable species, inherently selfish, drawn to darkness, and greedy.  The very best of us is utterly unlovable when compared to the perfection that is God.  But God, being God, doesn’t love us because we are worthy of love.  He isn’t faithful because we have earned His faithfulness.  God loves us because He is love; He is faithful to us because of His faithfulness, not our worth.  This means that there is nothing we can do to lose God’s love or cause Him to be unfaithful, because we can never change who God is.  Ponder that!

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