Aloe of God by Elizabeth Erin Puckett

You messed up again. You fell. You had a nasty attitude. You lashed out. You were self-righteous. You judged. You lusted. You coveted. You hated. You lied. You gossiped. You slandered. You fell short of the glory of God. Welcome to the club. Now maybe you’re lost or scared. Maybe “What have I done?”,  is throbbing in your mind and “What am I going to do?” echoes in your ears. You’re not alone. 

Sometimes we’re sky high and sometimes we’re clinging to the ground. When we see ourselves, dirty and weak, hugging the mud, realization of our own inability brings clouds into the sky. The hands of God we so desperately long to grasp seem unattainable. But this is not so. In our own little minds we can only understand the love of God as we, as humans, understand love to be which is imperfect and conditional. But the love of God is nothing of the sort. It doesn’t work like peroxide in our wounds. It doesn’t strip us like bleach, reminding us continually of our feebleness and punishing us for our sinfulness. No, the love of God is like soft, warm, spring rain; like aloe on our scorched skin. 

This is so hard for us to understand. How can our God, author of goodness and beauty, love us, creatures driven by selfish desires? Humans can love one another because we’re equal. We both sin, we both fall. Yet God is perfect. It is not a fair trade. But here’s the truth. The love of God is more than we are. We are called to it and grown in it. When we’re hurt, when we sin, we so often condemn ourselves or cut off our feelings in order to isolate ourselves from God. Yet God has not rejected us. But do you think Satan wants us to run to God, the One who will forgive us and renew us? No, he wants us to drown in guilt and shame, in fear and pity. He wants to keep us from the One person that can make it better.

Remember David’s allusions to the wings of God: “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 17:7-9) “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7) “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” (Psalm 57:1) “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 63:7). David was man after God’s own heart yet he committed adultery, murder and he struggled with pride. But he knew the love of God could save him. Psalm 86:5 “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.” 

We are called to excellence, to light, to the holiness of God. But in and of ourselves, we will never live up to the standards of God. It is only through the grace and love of God that we succeed. Why have you fallen? Whom have you been depending on? God wants us to succeed. He has given us all we need to do so. He has called us His own. If human parents fight for their children, God goes to war for us. He is both strong and gentle, both just and merciful because He lovingly fashioned every part of us. 

My favorite prophet, Isaiah, said this of Jesus “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;”. How is it we struggle then when the most memorized scripture of the Bible says it so plainly? "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

He did not come to condemn us, to tell how and to what extent we are so very wrong. The Word of God helps us understand the right and wrong. No, Jesus came to save us, to heal us, to give us life and life abundantly. Not peroxide, aloe. Not bleach, but pure water. It’s the love of God. That’s the answer. So, go. Run home to your God.
 

 

by Elizabeth Erin Puckett
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