Psalm 33:22 – Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (NRSV)
I remember when I first felt the love of God. I was at a turning point in my life, sort of: my daughter was a baby, and it had suddenly struck me that I had a little girl in my life that I was going to have to teach how to be a woman. Somehow this seemed to be much more daunting than raising a boy. I felt totally inadequate to the task and took the opportunity to give myself a hard time about how I had lived my life to that point. Does it not seem to be easier to see the sin in oneself when one has to think about telling one's children about it someday? Thus one night, I sat in the dark, praying about this and asking God how on earth I was going to be a good example for this child. Then the strangest thing happened. I felt a warmth flow from the top of my head, down through my body and to my feet — a warm, shining feeling that I knew was pure love. At about the same time I heard (or felt, almost?) a voice saying, "You are my child, and I love you, no matter what." At the same time, I knew that the most important thing I could do for my daughter was to love her, so that she could grow up to love others. That gave me the hope I needed to be a good mom to her — hope that came to me through God's loving embrace of me, with all of my faults and foibles.
God's love is like that. For those of us who believe, God's love gives us hope that no matter how far short we fall, we can always turn to God for forgiveness and acceptance. For those who don't yet believe, the love of God can bring them to a place of faith and hope for the future. God's love is unwavering and reliable, and the hope it brings to our lives never ends.
Prayer: Loving God, in Your love we have hope — hope for a better life, hope to be the person who truly reflects Your goodness, hope for a future where Your kingdom reigns. Help us to bring Your love to others that they may have this same hope in You. Amen.