“Why do you love me?”

Have you ever had to answer this question from your spouse? Tough one, isn’t it? Not difficult because you don’t love your spouse, you do. But quantifying the intangible can be difficult. And honestly, sometimes our reasons can be rather selfish. How do you tell your wife that you love her because she cooks, cleans and looks after the babies for you? After all, any domestic helper can do that. Will you love them too? But the fact is, amongst other things, you love her for cooking, cleaning and looking after the children too, right? But if you think that is difficult, try telling God why you love Him.

“I love that Adonai heard
my voice when I prayed;
because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2 [CJB]

I like this translation because this is the most honest. The rest say,

“I love the Lord, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.” Psalm 116:1

And it just isn’t the truth, is it? When you sing hymns, when you mouth the words ‘I love You Lord’, what are you really saying? I love you because you heard me? That’s bad enough, isn’t it? It reeks of selfishness because your love for God is contingent upon Him doing things for you and hearing your prayers. But in truth, that doesn’t even come close. Because most of the time, we don’t love God, we merely love it when He hears us.

Think about it, how long did it take for your last ‘I love you Lord’ to turn into ‘What are You doing to me Lord’? Not very long, I’ll bet. And we’ve got to hand it to Satan, for when He said,

“So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”” Job 1:9-11

He was right on the money.

But despite our selfish nature, have you ever wondered how God sees our prayers? Have you ever wondered how God responds when we are in trouble? Is He just like us?

“The cords of death were all around me,
Sh’ol’s constrictions held me fast;
I was finding only distress and anguish.
But I called on the name of Adonai:
“Please, Adonai! Save me!”” Psalm 116:3-4 [CJB]

What do you think God did?

“God takes the side of the helpless;
when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.” Psalm 116:6 [MSG]

No pomp, no pageantry, no pre-requisites. He just pulls us out. And so comprehensive is His grace that even though we were just in trouble,

“I said to myself, “Relax and rest.
God has showered you with blessings.
Soul, you’ve been rescued from death;
Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears;
And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.”” Psalm 116:7-8 [MSG]

Weren’t we turning our ‘I love You Lord’ into ‘What are You doing to me God’ just a moment ago? And what does our Father do? He turns it right back. And this is not a mirage. His deliverance is not some illusion, neither is it for the after-life, for when

“…You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord
In the land of the living.” Psalm 116:8-9

Not the land of the dead, not the land of the hereafter; in the land of the living. Right here, right now.

You know, beloved, what amazes me even more, is the patience of our Father. For sometimes, we make life more difficult than it ought to be and we don’t listen to His instruction. Remember what our Father told Moses to do in order that water may come forth from the wilderness?

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”” Numbers 20:7-8

And what did Moses do?

“And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.” Numbers 20:10-11

So what did Jesus tell us to do when we are faced with trouble?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11

But instead, what do we do?

“I believed, therefore I spoke,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
I said in my haste,
“All men are liars.”” Psalm 116:10-11

Words carry weight, because they spawn from our belief. What was the last thing you spoke about your situation? Are you greatly afflicted? Are you greatly troubled? Are you at the end of your tether? Did you really believe it? You did, didn’t you?

Words also hurt our circumstance because we are too hasty. When was the last time you shot your mouth off and lived to regret it? Worst thing is, the moment you shot your mouth off, you actually believed what you said, didn’t you? That’s why you said it. Yet, did our Father deal with you like He dealt with Moses?

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”” Numbers 20:12

Not at all. In fact, I’d wager this was how He responded to your unbelief in Him.

“The Lord preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:6-7

Not only did He save you and preserved you, He dealt bountifully with you. That’s because,

“Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones).” Psalm 116:15 [AMPC]

You see,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Our Father does not wish that you perish. He wants you to have everlasting life. And not a mediocre life too, for Jesus said,

“I come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

So precious are you to our Father, so important is it to Him that you have an abundant everlasting life, that He sent His only begotten, Jesus, to the cross for you. And that is why,

“From Adonai’s point of view,
the death of those faithful to him is costly.” Psalm 116:15 [CJB]

Because it cost Him His Son, to save you from death.

So how does our Father see your prayers, vitally important, because His Son suffered and died so that you could have the right to even submit a prayer.

Beloved, we love it that God answers prayers. But God answers prayers because He loves us. We love it that God hears us. But God hears us because He loves us. We call on Him because He turned His ear to us. But He turned His ear to us because He loves us. Isn’t it amazing that not only does He never tire of hearing our prayers, He never tires of cleaning up the mess that we create, He never tires of our disobedience but loves us unconditionally, unquestioningly, each and every time?

So the next time you tell Him you love Him, remember that He actually does love you.

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