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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Loved This...

Do you ever feel like you miss the point when it comes to God's love? The greatest love story ever told, the Bible, tells us repeatedly that His gracious love is a free gift from a devoted Father to a beloved child, an endless supply of everything we need to be secure and happy. And yet...we miss the point. Like Jesus' devoted friend Martha, who found it so difficult simply to accept and enjoy His free and boundless love, we often scurry around in our endless activities for God and miss His everpresent love for us.
Not so with Edith. She got it, right from God's heart to hers.
Edith was a little girl who was an orphan on the streets of London after World War II. She would often sneak into the backs of public buildings to get warm, and one Sunday evening she slipped into the back of a church and listened to the sermon. How excited she was at what she heard!
As the congregation was filing out, shaking hands with the minister, the little girl rushed up to him and said, "Oh sir, sir, I'm so excited! I didn't know my name was in the Bible!"
The minister wracked his brain to recall mentioning a female's name in the text of his sermon, but he came up blank. Not wanting to hurt the little girl's feelings, he asked, "Well, honey, what is your name?"
"My name is Edith."
He was really confused now, and he really didn't want to hurt her feelings, but he had to admit that the name "Edith" does not occur in Scripture.
"But it does!" Edith said. "I heard you say it clearly tonight: 'Jesus receiveth sinners and Edith with them."
The minister chuckled as he reached out to stroke Edith's cheek. He has been preaching on Luke 15:2, where the Pharisees and religious teachers were complaining about how Jesus, the self-proclaimed holy man, spent time with sinners and "eateth" with them.
Little Edith may have misunderstood the word, but she certainly got the point! She heard the truth for her, for you, for me: the boundless love of God reaches out toward each and every one of us.

Jesus loves the lost, the orphans, the lonely, the sinners-even the ones who miss the whole point. That's exactly who He came to save! You and me! The Lawkeepers who need his boundless love most desperately. And Edith.

These words to an old hymn I sang as a child still make me teary-eyes. (I heard they were scratched into the wall of some insane asylum. Jesus goes to places like that, too!)

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell,
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell...
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were ev'ry stalk on earth a quill
And ev'ry man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Tho' stretched from sky to sky.
How boundless is His love for us! How wide.
~Barbara Johnson, Boundless Love Devotional~