Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sevgililer Gününüz kutlu olsun!

Or for those of you reading this who don't speak Turkish -- probably all of you -- Happy Valentine's Day! At our team prayer time yesterday morning, we sang this hymn called "Thy Mercy, my God". I like it so much because it is so true.

Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart, and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections and bound my soul fast.

Without Thy sweet mercy I could not live here;
Sin would reduce me to utter despair;
But, though Thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And He that first made me still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its hardness depart;
Dissolved by Thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I've found.

Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own,
And the covenant love of Thy crucified Son;
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.

The first two lines of the third stanza, "Thy mercy is more than match for my heart / Which wonders to feel its hardness depart," are so true to me. I know that my heart is sinful, sick, and weak in faith, craving the fleeting shadows of this world more than the Savior who purchased me by his blood and whose splendor knows no limits. But then, while reading the epilogue to John Piper's The Pleasures of God, I happened upon the following statement about the blessings of heaven that overcome our dull visions of God: "The great hope of all the holiest people is not only that they might see the glory of God, but that they might somehow be given a new strength to savor it with infinite satisfaction--not the partial delights of this world, but, if possible, with the very infinite delight of God himself." *

In John 17:26, Jesus prays what I have so often skipped over, but it's the answer to all of this: "I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (italics mine). There is no greater love for God the Son and delight in him than that of his Father's own love and delight. And there is no one who more joyfully and strongly sees and treasures the Father than the Son. For they are both One, with love and joy flowing between them in the person of the Spirit. And, according to Jesus' prayer, this will be the very love with which we will one day have for God! We will know and love God as surely as Jesus does ("so that ... I [may be] in them") and love Jesus as surely dear as his Father above ("so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them"). But before that comes the remainder of our lives, lived in an embrace of the cross. For the Father's love for us, his chosen sinners, and the Son's love for his holy Father's glory meet therein.

"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10)

* John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God, 2nd ed. (Sisters, Ore: Multnomah, 2000), 311.

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