O how it hits a parent’s heart to hear his child cry out, “I hate you!” yet that is exactly how it hits God when we turn away from Him by sinning. How do we know? A passage in Luke tells us so ….
I. Luke 13:22-35. The question that is asked strikes right to the core of God in the flesh, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” God, who doesn’t want anyone to perish but come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), knows the reality that few will find the narrow path that leads to eternal life. And, as Jesus pauses on His way to Jerusalem, we hear the Creator lament that He has often longed to gather those made in His image, who are far from Him because of sin, together. Here, we glimpse the heart of God.
II. 1 John 4:10-12. Next, we glimpse the hand of God. Because He loves us, He will not take away our choice to love Him back. We must be like Jesus at Gethsemane, who willingly submits to His Father’s will (Luke 22:41-43). Speaking as God, Jesus admits that He has often longed to gather those He created together, but they “were not willing.” A good and loving God, He longs to give us many blessings–even eternal life–but we keep ourselves from receiving them because we are not willing to love Him back by our obedience.
III. 1 Peter 4:1-6. We must return to the arms of God. If we suffer in our bodies, we are done with sin and live now for the will of God. We certainly have “spent enough time” in all sorts of sin and selfishness. How much more do we need? Aren’t we sick of our sin and the separation from God that it brings? God calls us to repent–to turn our lives, our attitudes, our ways back to Him. Once we become willing, He will gather us like a hen does her chicks and bless us in every way (Joel 2:12-14).
God’s love for us is unconditional and deep. He’s already demonstrated that by His Son on the cross. And, though He loves you, unless you turn to Him by repenting, He cannot remain just and claim you. Won’t you return to Him?