Daily Devotional: A Love That is Deeper Than the Holler

The Blue Ridge ParkwayPsalm 93 paints a picture of God’s kingship or queen-ship grounded in the beauty and permanence of God’s creation.

The psalmist experiences the earth as permanent, that which holds him or her up, grounding them and all creation. They experience the awe of the roaring waters of the ocean or the river. They are testimonies to God, reminders of the greatness of God’s presence.

For the psalmist the permanence of the earth beneath his or her feet reminds them of the permanence of God’s presence, plan, and governing which they picture as a throne that can no more be shaken than the earth can be pulled out from beneath us.   They picture God’s power to transform, create, judge, and destroy as being like the awe-inspiring waters the see roaring in rivers, oceans, and seas. These sites in creation testify and, together with God’s testimonies in the stories and teachings of God’s the psalmist has heard in worship they remind the Psalmist of God’s ongoing presence, power, and grace in their life.

It is interesting to me that these forces of nature are seen as symbols of permanence.   In our day and age, often we reflect more on the fragility of the earth – as we threaten through our abuse of creation to see the temperatures raise, RiverLifethe air and waters poisoned, and countless species go extinct. We think of the threat of war from terrorists and other nations, remembering the awesome destructions our nuclear weapons can rage. When I look at all this, I tend to think of the earth and our live more like the fading field of flowers Isaiah pictures which sprout full of vibrancy and beauty, yet wither in a moment at the blowing of hot desert winds.

I tend to see God within, under, and through the dance of life the Psalmist pictures. God’s movement in our world is like the music that sets the atoms, molecules, water, sunlight, planets, and living creatures to move in the great dance of creation. I see myself called to discover my place in that dance. The image of the moving dancing Triune God is the rich image I draw from in such moments. It is an image of an ever-changing, shifting, experience of life in which I can join and in which the rest of creation inevitably is swept up.

For this psalmist, though all this creation speaks to the permanence of God. I can see that if I think of how I feel on top of the Appalachian trails here in North Carolina, perhaps gazing over an overlook on the blue ridge. I see mountains and hills that it is difficult to imagine ever being moved, upon which my ancestors may have walked and on which my descendants may scale. They feel permanent, long-lasting.   Seen alongside the Psalmist’s words, they are pictures of the long-suffering patience and love of God who stays for us and with us no matter what.

One way to look at this image of permanence is that God’s permanence is stronger than any of these symbols. God’s love is more lasting than the mountains, more constant than rock, deeper and wider than oceans. As a mother casts her Mother_and_Child_by_senseibushidolot with the child in her womb in such a way that her future becomes inextricably woven together with the future of that child growing inside her, so when God became flesh and blood as one of us in Jesus God demonstrated that God has thrown God’s lot in with us, so that God’s future is bound up in our own.   God has demonstrated God has cast God’s lot in with us so much that God wills not to get to God’s future alone, but only as God brings us with God. This is a love more lasting than the ocean, the sea, the rocks, the sky.

It is the love Paul spoke of when he said in Romans 8:

“18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

holy spirit 126 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

To me a perfect picture of this breadth and depth of God’s love for us is a song by Randy Travis I like to sing to my wife.   These words by Travis are even more true of God’s love for us than any human romance. I imagine God saying this to me this morning as I meditate on this text:

“Well I’ve heard those city singers singin’ ’bout how they can love Deeper than the oceans higher than the stars above Well I come from the country and I know I ain’t seen it all But I heard that ocean’s salty and the stars they sometimes fall But that would not do justice to the way I feel for you So I have to sing this song about all the things I knew

My love is deeper than the holler, stronger than the rivers Higher than the pine trees growin’ tall upon the hill My love is purer than the snowflakes that fall in late December And honest as a robin on a springtime window sill And longer than the song of the whippoorwill

From the back roads to the Broadway shows with a million miles between There’s a least a million love songs that people love to sing And everyone is different and everyone’s the same So this is just another way of sayin’ the same thing

My love is deeper than the holler, stronger than the rivers Higher than the pine trees growin’ tall upon the hill My love is purer than the snowflakes that fall in late December And honest as a robin on a springtime window sill And longer than the song of the whippoorwill

My love is deeper than the holler, stronger than the rivers Higher than the pine trees growin’ tall upon the hill My love is purer than the snowflakes that fall in late December And honest as a robin on a springtime window sill And longer than the song of the whippoorwill”

Know you are loved this day with just such a love, by your Creator.

And I ain’t just whistling Dixie,

Your progressive redneck preacher,

Micah

kat and mich

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2 thoughts on “Daily Devotional: A Love That is Deeper Than the Holler

  1. Pixie Wildflower says:

    Brilliant….so reblogging!

  2. Pixie Wildflower says:

    Reblogged this on Pixie Wildflower – The Fairy of Fun and commented:
    Another brilliant piece by Micah!

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