“Through the often-painful intervention of God, I have been brought to this point of my journey.” – Our Problem, Castimonia Book.
I learned a new word this week. It’s a Hebrew word “hesed” which doesn’t really have an English equivalent. Loosely translated, it means God’s lovingkindness. W.E. Vine said that “God’s hesed is His persistent, unconditional tenderness, kindness and mercy, a relationship in which God seeks after man with love and mercy.” Let that sink in for a moment. Unconditional.
I have learned about God’s hesed for me through no real awareness of my own. He had to seek me out. Let me try to explain. In the first chapter of John, we read that Christ came full of grace and truth. I didn’t understand that at all. I assumed it meant that Christ came to offer grace and that he only told the truth. Obviously, not a Bible scholar here.
So that is how I lived. I lived dependent upon His grace, not understanding His truth. I assumed that my salvation was dependent upon His grace and didn’t waste time on something difficult or hard like seeking out his truth and the impact on my life. And I thought that was fine. I didn’t think too much more about it. Only, see, I didn’t understand hesed.
I didn’t know that God would seek after me with love and mercy. Persistent, unconditional tenderness, kindness and mercy. Mercy is loosely defined as forgiveness for someone when its in your power to punish them. To grant mercy or really to grant forgiveness, someone has to want that forgiveness. I didn’t really think I needed it. Maybe that isn’t the complete truth. More accurately, I didn’t think it was for me. I mean, I didn’t think if God could see the real me that he could really show me mercy. I understood grace, I just didn’t think it was meant for someone who had spiraled into the depths that I had. I didn’t get hesed.
God intervened. He painfully intervened. I had to be in a mindset where I understood that I qualified for his grace. The only way that was possible was if my secrets, my shame, my sin were exposed. I didn’t understand why that was necessary. I heard others in my recovery group talk about how important it was to bring their secrets into the light so they would no longer have power over them. That made no sense to me. So God intervened and gave me proof that His grace covered even me. That his everlasting lovingkindness was meant for even me. Through His often-painful intervention, my dirtiness was exposed.
Now I am brought to this point in my journey. I understand that He came in grace and truth. For even me. The neat part of hesed is that it is a covenant term. God gives us evidence of His love when we come to Christ. We receive the Holy Spirit as that sign. I missed that part. I didn’t get that the Holy Spirit indwelled even me. And that He would not stop pursuing me, even when I didn’t think I qualified. So that’s where I am in my journey. I am exposed and in relationship with God. I accept His mercy because I know I need it, and I know through His covenant that He wants to give mercy to me, someone who understood grace but not the truth. Now I know the truth. His love is hesed. It never stops.