This morning I woke out of a deep sleep to what I was sure was a Hebrew word and a phrase about struggle, love and wholeness. I was so completely awake I began searching online to try to find out what I had heard, to learn about what had called me out of my sleep. I soon came across an article: Hesed: Enduring, Eternal, Undeserved Love.
Hesed is a Hebrew word referring to God’s enduring, eternal love (of which we are undeserving). As I read the article which tied God’s love to our love of each other and the ways we demonstrate hesed in relationship, I heard the words in the phrase I woke up to echo in my heart: love, wholeness, struggle. I was struck by how deeply this spoke to what I had asked my Father to pray to God for me about, and also in God pointing out through community and prayer that I am running away from what I’m asking him to send me: a husband.
This is the kind of love I want and which I am capable of achieving, even if I execute it imperfectly. My past partners and their families have always commented on the depth of my love, my capacity to love in the way described in this article. But as I think about it I realize that I have come to believe what the world has told me through those men: that I will not be loved like that in return, nor anywhere close to it. They have said, “People don’t love like you do. Not everyone is built that way.” “The world doesn’t work the way you think it does.” I admit I believed that I was only loveable by God, family and close friends, who could see me the way God saw me and I definitely didn’t see anything valuable enough to “sell” myself to someone as a life partner. But I was seeing myself through the lens of my ex’s and not my Father’s.
But I hear you now, Abba. There are people who love like this. Your people. And the world doesn’t work this way yet because it is still broken and we are trying to bring your Kingdom to it. But you, Abba, with my earthly Father? You can send me this love. You can send me hesed. I believed in this love from you first, God. I knew you loved me when I walked into Crossroads and heard the story of a Savior who came in not as a warrior with a sword but as a sacrifice of love. Beyond that, here was a loving and sacrificial God who wanted me, me in spite of the sin that wore me down and burdened me with shame and depression. You wanted me. You loved me. And you still do because I have your enduring, eternal, undeserved love.
The bible verses from the article are perfect examples of hesed from my Father in heaven, and will help me to remember how enduring this love is when I become forgetful:
Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love (hesed) for you will not be shaken.”
Lamentations 3:31-32 “No one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love (hesed).”
Exodus 34:6 “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love (hesed) and faithfulness,”
Genesis 24:27 “saying, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness (hesed) and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”