Malachi 3:6 — God Does Take Advantage of “Teachable Moments”
Or: Good and Bad Reasons to Break a Fast
I sent J the link to this blog. That’s it. No words to go along with it, nothing. Just the link, in case he wanted to read about what’s going through my head while he’s gone. That’s not a good enough reason to break a fast. Neither is responding to his sending me a funny Tumblr picture in response.
There are good reasons to break a fast, though. My best friend’s mom needed prayer this morning and the first person I turned to was my partner and best friend. But a prayer request is different.
An example of the worst reason to break a fast, especially when you’re fasting from your boyfriend specifically to have some time to focus more on yourself and God’s love for you, is to tell your boyfriend you love him. In a moment of weakness. Because you miss hearing him say it. Even worse? When you do it in the middle of your devotional. Which is putting your relationship that you’re supposed to be fasting from above your relationship with God.
Did I do this? Guilty. Did God use the devotion that I was reading as what’s called a “teachable moment”? Absolutely.
The devotion today was about God’s love. It used Sherlock Holmes’s flat, 221B Baker Street, to illustrate the constant, unchanging presence of God in our lives. It back this up with the sixth verse of the third chapter of Malachi, the first part of it which reads, “I the Lord do not change.”
This is a groundbreaking revelation, especially in today’s world. We are surrounded by constant change. I can testify to this, as my life has changed so much throughout its course that sometimes I don’t even recognize myself anymore. To know that God is the one thing in life that never shifts or moves or loves you any differently is breathtaking.
Especially the not loving you any differently part. God’s love is perfect. Absolutely, 100%, there is no denying it, perfect. The love we feel for people is just a tiny fraction of what God feels for us. He cannot love us any more, because he loves us as much as is possible. He cannot love us any less, because then His love would no longer be perfect. God’s love will never change, and will always be there when we need it. Always.
So, when I realized this about God’s love, I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed that in a moment of purely human, sinful weakness, I messaged J and told him I love him because I wanted him to say it back. What does that say about my love for him? What does it say about my love for God? That I don’t trust Him to always be there for me even when J isn’t? That knowing that J loves me is more important than recognizing the love that God has for me is completely different and ultimately more meaningful? When push comes to shove, at the end of my life J might not be there. But God will be. God is always there. So this morning was a lesson in faith, in love, in recognizing God for who He is. This morning I realized that even though I do a devotional every morning and write in a prayer journal (almost) every evening, I still fail. I’m still human. I’m still sinful. I still need the never ending love of my savior. I don’t need J, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy him. It just means that I can’t put him above God, because as soon as that happens, it’s over. I know from experience. Because that’s what happened with Z.