James 1:12 (NIV):  Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

It is easy for me to love people in my life that are lovable. If you are not lovable… not so much.

I am convinced that God loves me. The big message of the Bible is that God’s primary attribute is love. The whole reason for Jesus is that God loves. Because of this, I think that God is lovable. 1 John 4:19 puts it like this, “We love because he first loved us.” I respond to God’s love with love.

It is harder to love God if I am not fundamentally convinced that God does everything for a good reason and that everything I experience does not negate His love for me.

As I think about this past year I realize that I have shared many trials with the rest of the world: pandemics, economic hardship, riots, ideological divisions, contested elections. Where has God been? How can He love us if all this bad stuff has happened?

For me, I must confess again my faith that God is both good and loving. I simply cannot understand all the mysteries of how God works. I can and do understand, based on what the Bible has shared, that God created the world, that man sinned causing a separation from God, that Jesus came and died on the cross to satisfy God’s justice regarding sin, and that Jesus rose from the dead to validate His claim to be the Son of God. These truths are the bedrock of my life and lead me to love God no matter what.

The above verse indicates that those who love God, including me, will persevere under trials and stand through tests. The promise from God, for those who do, is a crown of life! Wow.

As a follower of Jesus there is a consistency in understanding God’s love for me, and there is also a consistency in my love for God. As we conclude the advent season with Christmas Day, I commit to embracing love from God, for God, and to all my neighbors.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus as an expression of Your love for me. I celebrate His birth now. I also want You to know that I love You. Thank you for every opportunity, no matter how hard, to persevere under trials, so that I can demonstrate my love.

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