A Pastor’s Ponderings: Isn’t Love Grand


By Dave Holland

Jonie danced into my life 14 years ago. Emblazoned in my mind’s eye is the picture of her bouncing into Poncho’s Mexican Restaurant for our first date. We met online through a dating service, but none of that prepared me for the whirlwind that blew into my life. The internet gave me the facts, but meeting her was so much better.

Jonie’s exuberant faith captivates my heart. My life revolves around this beautiful firebrand of a woman and hers revolves around me as we serve the Lord together. She responds to my love and I respond to hers. Ours is a marriage that was designed in heaven to illustrate God’s great love for us.

Our marriage entails many responsibilities as we care for one another. I live with the daily challenge of understanding this mysterious female creature. I would complain if it were not such fun on this rollercoaster ride.

Brennan Manning boils down the gospel to one question in his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, he believes we will be asked in heaven, “Did you trust My love for you?”
Ultimately, the Christian life begins with our response to God’s great love demonstrated on the cross. But it doesn’t end there.

Our reaction to the revelation of the love of God determines our destiny. God loves the whole world, but only those who receive His love by faith are the beloved. Unbelievers reject His love out of ignorance, anger, fear, skepticism or pride. Believers receive His tender mercies by faith and enjoy His benefits.

Our relationship with Jesus calls to show His love in visible ways. For much of my life I have suffered from insecurity and low self-esteem. I would go to the Lord with my problems and failures saying, “Oh Lord, I come to the foot of Your cross asking you to forgive me of my weakness, stumbling and impure motives.”

While this kind of prayer has a measure of value, it is living as if Christ were still on the cross – He isn’t there anymore! My introspection and regrets produced doubt and discouragement. Regret is like driving while looking in the rearview mirror, a crash is bound to happen. Christ’s work is finished – He has forgiven our sins past, present and future.
Jesus lives today and is pouring out His Spirit upon us producing new life, power and grace. We are conduits of His resurrection, life having overcome sin and darkness through faith in Christ. We are becoming like Him – not the suffering Christ on the cross – we are transformed into the likeness of the present, resurrected Son of God.

When the Bible describes Jesus in His present form, it does not show Him bleeding, suffering and dying – those are in the past. John gives us a snapshot of Jesus NOW in Revelation 1:14-16, “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”

I crave this awe-inducing and dynamic Savior – not simply a sentimental Christ on the cross gazing forlornly at the ground. Let us open our minds to allow this mighty Christ to fill our lives with His glorious presence.

The God Who flung the stars into place doesn’t want to date you – He wants to pour His wild, uncontainable life into you.

Dave Holland pastored for more than 38 years and currently lives in Destin. His books and blog are available at DaveHolland.org. Contact him at davidvholland54@gmail.com.