“But You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15).
Hard to Get Close
Do you fear God getting really mad at you anytime you do something wrong? I know how you feel. I used to always think I was disappointing God, frustrating Him, or just making Him angry. I couldn’t approach a God like that, fearing that He would just punish me if I came near. The third way God described Himself in Exodus 34:6 is patient, or slow to anger. But I couldn’t see Him that way, no matter how hard I tried. Do you feel the same?
My Cat, Itchy
I want to tell you about my cat, Itchy (my brother named her). We rescued Itchy from a very abusive owner who used to kick her. Whenever we would come near her—especially with big, heavy shoes—she would just tremble, look at us with huge, scared eyes, and run. We couldn’t get her to come near us for months. But slowly, as she began to trust us and see that we only wanted to love her, she began to tiptoe out and risk climbing up on our laps. And now, every morning when my dad reads the Bible, she comes and hops up on his armrest and purrs. She knows we love her.
Old Master vs. New Master
You know, we are like that with God. Our former master was the Devil, and he was incredibly abusive. Jesus said, “The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10a). The devil stole your joy, killed your self-worth, and destroyed your relationships and purpose. But Jesus is just the opposite kind of master. He said in contrast to the devil, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b). Abundant life—that’s what your new master, Jesus, wants to give you!
GOD = LOVE
Just like we wanted to love Itchy, pet her, feed her, and have her enjoy our home, God is a master who wants to care for you, feed you, help you with your wounds, and give you a very safe home. 1 John 4:16 says, “GOD IS LOVE.” It’s like a math equation: God=love. Everything that God is, is love. I want you to hear a list of what the Bible describes as love. As you read it, think about how this is what God is like:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Let God Love You
This list describes your God. He is like my family with Itchy, beckoning you to come close and be loved. You might be feeling like her right now, still reeling from the abuse of your former master, but God is not like him at all. God is patient, loving, slow to anger, so tender-hearted. Will you take a risk and come close to Him today? You can start just by praying this prayer: God, I’ve been so hurt in the past. I see You as someone who is easily disappointed or upset with me. I don’t want to see You like that any longer. Will You show me how much You love me?
We love you!