I Have Loved You
Jeremiah 31:1-2 ESV
Jeremiah 31:3 ESV
As I write this I am traveling at night from the low plains to the Great Plains. When I fell asleep It seemed a little warm. I brought a blanket, but I didn’t need it. However, when I woke up at dawn I pulled my blanket out of my bag and put on a light jacket.
As we head toward Denver I am starting to see hills and I can tell the elevation is changing.
I’ve always been fascinated by the westward migration in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in America. I think that’s because my great grandparents (the Irelands) traveled westward and homesteaded in Montana when my grandfather was a boy.
They would have traveled in a covered wagon across the Great Plains. Step by step and inch by inch they traveled.
I knew my Great Grandmother well later in life. All of my great grandparents were born around 1875. By the time I came along they would have been around 75 years old. All of them were people of faith. My great grandparents who traveled by covered wagon took their faith with them. Their faith was a big part of their story.
It’s a good thing they did.
After the Irelands settled in Montana, just south of the Missouri River they set up house, and carved out a life.
Then, suddenly when my Great Grandfather turned 33 he became ill. Back in those days they had a few names for that kind of illness. For the most part it was an illness unto death. He didn’t survive.
They had their faith and God held onto them.
We read in Jeremiah 31:1-2, “At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the clan of Israel, and they shall be my people.” Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest.”
My great grandmother and my grandfather had survived the worst of times. With the death of their beloved husband and father they had God’s grace in their wilderness but everything had changed. This dream they dreamed had drastically changed.
In Jeremiah 31:3, we learn the “The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
Jeremiah speaks of an appearance…a divine appearance from the Lord. The view was of eternity. The Lord brought a message of promise and love. God’s assurance of love was rooted in eternity past, present, and future.
Even though life doesn’t always turn out exactly as we expect, God is faithful. God is there…God is here. Love is eternal.
My great grandmother and her son stayed for as long as they could in Montana but eventually they made their way back to the low plains where they settled in northern Missouri.
By the time I met my great Grandmother she had remarried a Judge in Missouri who had lost his wife. He had a young daughter in need of a mother and her son (my grandfather) was in need of a father. God provided.
Even though it wasn’t what was planned, God made a way…a new way.
I remember my great grandmother as a quiet woman. She was a woman of faith and substance. She didn’t speak much. I don’t remember a twinkle in her eyes. Instead she had a far away look of knowing.
She had experienced an appearance of a divine God when the gates of eternity opened to receive her first beloved.
She carried that moment with her in her heart because she knew she would see her beloved again where God would provide for them through all eternity.
In the interim God provided a partner for her and a father for her son. God also provided a partner for a good man who had a daughter who needed a mother.
It worked for them.
Life often doesn’t turn out like we expect. I know first hand that life is filled with bumps that leave bruises. More than once I wasn’t sure the pain would ever subside.
In time it did.
Life went on and ever so gradually I could breathe again.
The plan that I thought was ‘the plan’ suddenly changed and eventually a new plan emerged. Again, not what I expected, but God knew all along where we were going.
Through it all, God’s great love carries us.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Your Plan, God’s Love
Consider God’s love for you and how God has provided a special plan every step of the way.
In God, Deborah