Monday, August 25, 2014

Six Reasons Why God’s Love is Better Than Life

When I was in college we used to sing a Maranatha! chorus,
Thy loving kindness
Is better than life
Thy loving kindness
Is better than life
My lips shall praise thee
Thus will I bless thee
I will lift up my hands
Unto thy name.
The song comes from Psalm 63, which in the ESV is Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. Ps 63:3-4.

I have probably sung the chorus dozens of times, but I don’t remember ever thinking much about why. Why is the Lord’s loving kindness better than life? That’s a pretty big claim.

After all there’s a lot about this life that is pretty great. Snowball fights and baseball games and fishing. Sunsets and mountains and ocean beaches. Falling in love and getting married and having kids. Reading good books and listening to beautiful music. Hiking in the mountains and riding roller-coasters. Working hard, hanging out with your friends, enjoying good food. Playing with your grandkids.

When life is good it is very good. But even when it is not, we cling to it. Even when we’re sick and old, life is still precious to us. But the psalmist says, God’s steadfast love is better than life. God’s love (the Hebrew is hesed, God’s grace, favor, mercy) is better than the best this life can ever be.

Why is that true? I’ve been thinking about that. There are probably more reasons that I’ll ever come up with, but here are a few that I did.
  1. You can be separated from this life, but you cannot be separated from His love.
  2. This life is filled with a rough mixture of joy and sorrow, good and evil, but His steadfast love is wholly joyful and good.
  3. This life is full of fear, but His perfect love casts out fear.
  4. The life of this world is under the sway of the god of this world, but God’s love vanquishes Satan’s power and connects us to heaven.
  5. This life leads to death, but His love leads only to life…and life…and life.
  6. You can experience this life without Christ, but you can only experience His love through Christ.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39