Psalm 139 begins with “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me” (Ps 139:1). I thought of these words while reflecting on thoughts from spiritual writer, Louis Evely. “This activity [God’s loving power] of His most often occurs in a place we can’t enter, at the root of our being, for that’s where God reaches us, where he operates, molds us, and ceaselessly perfects His work in us.” This loving power know us from the inside out. “God along knows us as we are inside and He alone loves us even though we lose all our qualities, because He loves, not our qualities, but us. Only He will put up with us forever.”
When it seems nothing is being done by us, much may have been done in us. Teresa of Avila observed that we would be surprised at what God is doing in our soul. God is at work in our depths far beyond what we can imagine or comprehend. Our part is to surrender to the process. “The Spirit also helps us in our present limitations. For example, we do not know how to pray worthily, but his Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonizing longings which cannot find words. He who knows the heart’s secrets understands the Spirit’s intention as he prays according to God’s will for those who love him” ( Rom. 8:26-7 Phillips).
Knowing that God, “alone loves us even though we lose all our qualities,” we can pray, “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross- examine and test me, see for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life” ( Ps 139:23-4 – Message). We can pray with confidence because of the Spirit within, “operates, molds us, and ceaselessly perfects His work in us.” This is transformation – God changing us from the inside out. “Now to him who by his power within us is able to do indefinitely more than we ever dare to ask or imagine…(Eph 3:20). God is doing much more than we can imagine.
God loves us not for our qualities, but for who we are. “To us, the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us has been his sending his only Son into the world to give us life through him. We see real love, not in the fact that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to make personal atonement for our sins’ ( I John 4:10-11 – Phillips). This is condescension – not our reaching out to God, but God coming all the way down to where we are. God loves us as we are not what we think we should be. “Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us” ( Romans 5:8 – Phillips).
Jesus’ love for us will endure to the end. “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us” (Romans 8:37-39). God’s unconditional love give us confidence to keep reaching out to Jesus and keep moving onward. With Paul we declare, “But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me…..By no means do I count myself and expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye n the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I off and running, and I’m not turning back” ( Phil 3:13-14 – Message).