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Faces on Faith: God loves, cherishes us no matter how we feel

By Staff | Jan 23, 2019

Rev. John N. Cedarleaf

Water is very powerful. A couple of weeks ago, we saw ten-foot waves on the Gulf; something that is not normal. Water can do much good, but also bring much destruction. If you do not understand this, then you can get into serious trouble.

In the book of Genesis, God brings the chaos of unformed water together and the oceans are created. Israel passes through the Red Sea waters from slavery and then crosses the waters of the Jordan to enter the Promised Land. Jesus is nurtured in the water of Mary’s womb and becomes living water to the woman at the Samaritan well.

One of the readings in church yesterday was Isaiah 43:1-7, where God speaks to Israel and says:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you “

We also read the story of Jesus’ baptism from Luke’s gospel. After Jesus had been baptized he is praying and hears these words: “You are my Son, the beloved, with you I am well pleased.”

The words spoken to Jesus are also spoken to each and every one of us; spoken to our deepest ache in our hearts, telling us that we are precious, favored and beloved by God beyond all measure. What a word for us to hear!

When we feel alone or afraid or rejected; when we feel filled with shame or doubt, we hear the word: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” All the love that is; all the love that God has rests upon us.

No matter what is happening in our lives; no matter how afraid we are, no matter what we have done or left undone; no matter how we feel we have messed things up God’s love and grace and mercy are there. God accepts us just as we are and love us, no matter how unlovable we might feel. God refuses to let us go, even when we want to let go!

So many people are carrying burdens in their hearts; so many people feel alienated from friends and family and from God. The good news is that no matter how we feel about God, God loves us and cherishes us. God will never let us go and God’s mercy is new with every sunrise.

The Rev. John N. Cedarleaf is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.