As we conclude our series on Children Of An Awesome God, Pastor Lutzer shares three stories of people who chose to love God and love others even in the face of harsh circumstances.
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you joined us today as we conclude our study of Romans chapter eight, and the title has been Children of an Awesome God. Last time, we talked about the unconditional love of God—that nothing could separate us from His love. And I made the statement that there is nothing that we can do to make God stop loving His children. We must understand that divine love is always based on the lover and not the one loved.
You know, sometimes in marriages, what you have is, a man says “I love you.” And he says that because she’s beautiful, she’s able to cook, and she’s able to meet all of his needs. But when she changes—and this has happened many times, as you well know—“You’re not the person I married. You’ve changed.” Unconditional love says, “I can go on loving you even if you have changed; even if you’re going through a hard time, even if you stop loving me, I can go on loving you.”
May I remind you that our salvation is not in the hands of the sheep. It is in the hands of the Shepherd.
And reread the last verses of Romans chapter eight as Paul discusses the unconditional love of God. As we conclude, I thought I’d use two illustrations, perhaps even three, of people who went on loving despite hardship.
Perhaps 30 years ago, there was a woman here at Moody Church who sent me this. And she was a young mother, single mother. “My baby and I were placed in protective custody, and I was asked to live in a women’s shelter with drug addicts, prostitutes, and women who were fleeing abuse yet abusing their own children. My first week there, my laundry was stolen out of the washing machine. My apartment was broken into and the kitchen had flooded. We had to stay at this facility for an entire year after my daughter was born before I was able to manage to get on my own and get a house. It was quite a mission field.” Now she talks about her two children. She had a son, and the son had autism. Her daughter had sensory integration disorder. But here’s the point I want to make.
By the way, she said, “I have been so blessed by them and have grown so much from their daily courage and strength that children teach me to take nothing for granted.” And then she says, “Over the past six years,” she says, “I have taught the children to love the Lord our God.”
You know, the Bible says we love Him because He first loved us. Loving God in the midst of circumstances that don’t appear loving is the kind of faith highly rewarded by God.
Another story. Let me introduce you to a man by the name of George Matheson. He was actually born in Glasgow in the 1800s. And he was born blind, but yet he was able to get two degrees from the University of Glasgow, because his sister read everything to him. He became a pastor. He memorized his sermons; he memorized the Scripture and he even memorized hymns. But as a pastor, he went through a time of great darkness and depression. He began to doubt God’s love. I need to take time to just read for you what he said, because it is so poetic. It is so striking, even in its beauty.
He says, “Oh Lord, to all of us who struggle with doubt. Lord, there are times when my experience is the experience of Thomas. There are days when I hear not the bells of Easter morning. I tread the road to Emmaus and I see not the risen Christ. I stand on the Mount of Galilee and there comes no voice along the breeze. I sail on Galilee’s Lake and I see no vision. I frequent the upper room and yet I get no hint of His presence. My faith cannot walk by sight in hours of darkness. Oh Lord, hast Thou remedy for the loss of light? Yes,” he says.
“Father, Thou hast a gate where faith can enter without seeing where it goes. Its name is love. Oh Lord, lead me, that by this gate, though my eyes are dim, when I cannot follow you to all of it, let me worship you at Calvary. When I lose sight of the risen form, do not shut me out of hearing and bearing His name. If I cannot soar with Him in heaven, let me at least go back and finish my work on Earth.”
After this period of doubt, he went back to the church, even though he had resigned because of his depression and his doubts. Let me tell you this: God is able to handle our doubts, and He can do so very, very well. It’s okay to doubt, if your doubts are honest doubts. But you’ll notice, he says, the gate back is love. He wrote these words, perhaps you’ve heard them before: “Oh love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee. I give thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths it’s flow may richer, fuller, be.”
Today, let the love of God lead you back home. One other quick story. When I was up in Canada 30 or 40 years ago, I heard the principal of—principal, I should say, of a Bible college, tell this story. Of course, I wasn’t able to verify it. He said that there was a school for children who were born deaf and mute. And one of the young girls was a Christian. And the teacher asked this girl a very, very hard and insensitive question. He said, “If God loves you, why did He create you deaf and mute?” Now I’m visualizing in my mind that this little girl probably had tears come to her eyes. But she wrote on the chalkboard, “Because He thought it best.”
I don’t know where you’re at today, my friend, but wherever you are in your circumstance, it may be because God thought it best. And His unconditional love right where you are will carry you all the way home.
Thanks so much for joining us today. This ends our study of Romans chapter eight, but join us next time as we begin a new study. And as for today—some of you already know what I’m going to say—as for today, just go with God.