“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” –Jude 20-21

How vulnerable we may find ourselves in the matter of trusting God’s love toward us! Some small thing happens that threatens our security, and a host of anxious, gloomy, fearful, and even blaming thoughts rush in like air into a vacuum. If we are this way in small things, how much greater is the tendency to lose our grip on God when big things happen (although, praise the Lord, He never loses His grip on us)!

To keep ourselves in the love of God, to simply believe what God has said concerning His intention toward us, sounds easy enough, but we may discover that it is the fight of our life, what Paul calls “the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). As Jude indicates in the verse above, we keep ourselves in God’s love by praying in the Holy Spirit and building ourselves (and one another) up in our faith, something which he calls “most holy.” How do we “build ourselves up in such a faith”? Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Concerning our Lord’s absolute faithfulness, the Bible has much to say: “I will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5)” and “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). As we stay calm in adversity and saturate ourselves with facts like these, then “faith comes,” and when faith comes, all is well, whether or not our circumstances change.

Sometimes dark thoughts and morose feelings want to occupy our mind and fill our emotions. “You’ll never make it. You’ve failed too many times. There’s no hope for you.” Then come the temptations to try to solve a problem on our own. “You’d better do something about this right away. Change yourself, or else!” But while reading, as currently I am, a devotional by C. H. Spurgeon and a little book by Martin Luther, I keep hearing about the fundamental need of faith in God’s unconditional love, no matter what happens in us, to us, or around us.

When our insides are raw and our mind is reeling, the confidence in God exuded by those who have gone before us is of great value, and very needful, like ointment to an open wound. Consider Amy Carmichael’s entry for August 12 in her devotional The Edges of His Ways. Like so many who learned the secret of trusting God for everything, she derives comfort from the most unlikely places and sees God’s grace everywhere. (Surely, this is what God desires for each of us.) Her text is Romans 10:21 in the Rotherham translation, which says, “All day long have I stretched forth My hands unto a people unyielding and contradicting.” Reading this, one may think, “How can I find any solace in a verse like this?”

Notice, however, that Amy’s focus is not on the unyielding ones, but on the God who stretches forth His hands. She writes, “Today this verse which has often helped me came in my reading. When I have been near the end of my patience with some unyielding child, or some ‘contradicting’ disposition, these words have come to me. He who gave us our work to do knows all about it, and has been through the sense of baffled love. He is with us now, and all the day long His hands are stretched forth. His love never faileth. Lord, evermore give us this love.”

How comforting such words are, written by someone who kept herself in the love of God! Thank You, Lord, for all day long stretching forth Your hands to unyielding and contradicting people. By Your grace may we always, in every situation, believe in and yield to this unconditional love.