Story of Hope: Lovingkindness
Has God given you a word?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve read in books and known some people who say God gives them a word that becomes the “theme” of their year. I had never experienced this before and dismissed it as an attempt to spiritualize New Year’s resolutions, until it happened to me. This year, God gave me a word. Not all at once, but slowly and gently, He worked a word into my heart.
My word is the title of this blog, which you probably figured out at this point.
Lovingkindness is defined as “tenderness and consideration toward others,” and it is a constant reminder of who my God is to me.
I could tell you more about why I believe God gave lovingkindness to me as my first-ever word of the year, but instead I’d like to share someone else’s story. A story of God’s tenderness and consideration toward her.
A couple months ago, the Woodside Family received an insert in the Sunday bulletin with a space to write the name of someone to pray for and invite to Easter service.
Rewind to three years prior, and you will see Tina walking through the doors of Woodside Romeo bearing a heavy burden. Having finalized her divorce, she believed the lie that she was a failure. “My marriage failed, so what’s next to fall apart in my life?” As guilt and shame weighed on her heart, she hoped going to church would balance out her mistakes and make her “good enough” again.
Over the course of these three years, God has done much more than make her “good enough.” He’s transformed her from being fearful of a life on her own, to trusting Him as her Provider (Matthew 6:31–32), from having her world turned upside down to setting Christ as her firm foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11), and from feeling alone to experiencing the loving acceptance of the Body of Christ (1 Peter 3:8–9).
God has done much more than make her ‘good enough.’ He’s transformed her.
Tina began to grow in her relationship with God, serve faithfully in Woodside Kids, and pour into the faith journey of her young son. In June she celebrated his decision to be baptized as a declaration of trust and hope in Jesus.
Throughout this time, Tina has prayed fervently for her ex-husband, saying, “He believes Jesus died for us but does not practice it in his daily life. We share custody of our son and I’m bringing up my son in church and teaching him to walk with God, but I only get to do that with him every other week.”
She and her son ask the Lord to soften his dad’s heart and open doors for ministering to him as well as his fiancé and her two children.
When Tina opened her bulletin that Sunday, it was his name that popped into her mind. She immediately wrote it down and stuck the insert in her Bible. By the time Easter came around (amidst a global pandemic) she had completely forgotten about the slip of paper.
Easter Sunday fell on dad’s weekend and her son was dropped back off the next day. It was then Tina’s ex-husband said something thoroughly unexpected: the five of them had watched the Easter service by Pastor Billy Creech. Tina was stunned as those words washed over her and amazed as the memory of writing his name came rushing back. In those moments, she felt overwhelmed by the realization of God’s faithfulness in her life. “Even though I forgot about putting his name down on the insert, God did not forget. God is always working even when we don’t remember what we’ve asked for. I am in complete awe of how He is working in our lives.”
God is always working even when we don’t remember what we’ve asked for.
Her words remind us of the truths in God’s Word, which is full of exclamations of His great faithfulness to us.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
We serve a God who is faithful and whose lovingkindness never runs dry. For Tina, His faithfulness has shown up in the healing from divorce, the personal faith of her son, and the softening of her ex-husband’s heart. My story is different, as is yours.
No matter how difficult it may seem to dig through the muck and mire of our brokenness, our mistakes, and our pain to find the evidence of God’s faithfulness and lovingkindness, He assures us it is always there. Always waiting for us to recognize and to rest in.
This year, God is inviting me to see and to trust His lovingkindness, His tenderness, and His consideration toward me. Today, Tina and I invite you to do the same. To put it another way, I’m sharing my word with you. May God use it to show you His heart, as He is for me.