I went to our town library to open up an account. The librarian was surprised that I didn’t already have an account and when I admitted that it had been years since I’d checked out a book she insisted on looking me up by my maiden name. Sure enough, my old account from high school was still in the system… And I had fines! I was sure someone had identity thefted me since I barely set foot in the library but the record showed the last book check out… It was from 1998! That’s right, 13 years prior to my current visit. When I asked the librarian how they had kept track of the fines for all these years she responded, “Oh we’re serious about getting our money!” Needless to say, I wrote out a check.
If I am honest with myself, I often see God like the library. I know He has incredible resources that He wants to share with me, and yet I think He is keeping track of all my fines, my irresponsibilities from times gone by. I feel like He will withhold His amazing resources from me until I settle my dues. While I know this is not true in my head, my heart has trouble accepting that he will just love me as I am. This verse in Hosea has helped me see God’s heart:
“I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. (KJV 2:19-20)
Whether I am in righteousness (right standing with God) or in judgment (when He must exercise discipline in my life) God loves me and betroths himself to me! When I understand His love and when I am in need of His mercy… Even then His love is constant. In the faithfulness of the day to day, He teaches me who He is. He vows a covenant with us that is so much more than, “til death do us part” because Death is swallowed up in His presence.
I still have trouble wrapping my mind around this unconditional love. But God just keeps telling me, “Amber, put the checkbook away… I already payed your fines. Not because I had to, but because I love you.” My objection brings out the librarian in God as He quiets my protests with a simple, “Shhh”.