He Yearns for Us
By: Chelsey DeMatteis
For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD.” - Jeremiah 31:20
Have you ever wondered, How can God love the messy parts of me? As my husband and I have journeyed through a hard season in marriage, I’ve sat asking God this question often. We fallen humans are complicated. There is so much about you and me that rebels against him. Our mouths, our actions (or lack thereof), our attitudes, our addictions, or even the “little sins” the world deems permissible – we fall so short, every day, of his perfect standard.
But by God’s grace, the Lord continues to reveal truths from his Word to help give us a deeper sense of clarity on just how much he loves us and what he thinks of us, despite our sinful nature.
Look at Jeremiah 31:18-20 with me. It gives us a beautiful glimpse of how God thinks of us, despite the parts of us that feel very unlovable:
“I have heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the LORD my God. For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’ Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD.”
I don’t know about you, but this made me weep as I sat with the reality of what this says. Even though your life may be a mess, your marriage might be struggling, or you are living in a season of rebellion, God is yearning for you. Yes, you read that correctly, God is yearning for you.
This is hard for us to wrap our minds around, especially as women. It’s difficult to think someone can actually love us despite our shortcomings and failures. Unfortunately, this earthly belief overflows in the way we approach or view God. We deflect his love by putting earthly conditions on it. We label ourselves unworthy or too disheveled to be loved by him. We mistake him for being like one of us.
Ephraim, used in Jeremiah 31 to represent the nation of Israel, was coming out of a season that I’m all too familiar with. And yet, Scripture shows us over and over, through stories like Ephraim’s, that our mess doesn’t negate God’s goodness. The Bible is God-breathed so all people can see the blueprint for how he calls us to love, live, and lean into the truth of his Word. So that we can see not only how our lives should be but so we can see that God does love us in the midst of our failures. His heart yearns for us to come running home.
I can just picture the Lord looking me in the eyes, as I know I’ve muttered words similar to Ephraim’s, and he would whisper back to me, “Oh my daughter, I chose you, my heart yearns for you when you turn away from me. My love for you is unchanging, unfailing, and undeniable.” The Israelites, just like us, chose sin. He chose to be disobedient to God, yet God had a heart that yearned for one of His children, just as a loving father does.
So the next time you find yourself entertaining the lie that God can’t handle you and whatever mess you’re in, remember this. God never steps out of His character. He is always loving, good, just, righteous, holy, gracious, truth-filled and in constant pursuit of us. He can’t not love you. Genesis 1:31 says, “and God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” You and me - made in His perfect image. Made within His hands of perfect, unfailing love. Made for a purpose and plan that He can’t do through anyone else. So let us dig into His word, let us repent as Ephraim did, and let us run back to The Lord whose heart is yearning for us. In this place we will find that a heart and mind tethered to His truths will have a hard time looming in the place of questioning His deep love for us.
You can find more from Chelsey on her website, https://www.chelseydematteis.com/.
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