Every year at Vacation Bible School I watch as adults lead the excited children around the church from station to station, sing the songs (maybe we even do the accompanying motions), shout and laugh. Do we also, though, compartmentalize? Do we box up the VBS messages and declare they are just for kids and not relevant for us?
But is there any message in Scripture that God delivers just for people under 18? We older and wiser ones sometimes make faith so complicated and fail to recognize or really consider the beautiful truths in these simple messages. So, this week, I’m thinking about VBS and what the lessons for children mean for you and me. Our church is doing Group Publishing’s Kingdom Rock VBS, so that’s what I’ll be sharing about here with a mixture of old devotionals and new ones on the theme for each day.
Originally posted as “Feeling Unloved, January 4, 2013
“I love you, Lord; you are my strength” Psalm 18:1
She was sobbing next to me and finally put all those unmanageable, messy feelings into four words.
“I feel so unloved.”
One fight with her sisters, one afternoon of correction and quiet discipline….and this totally loved daughter of mine told me she didn’t feel loved at all.
She sat with her tissue, snuggled against my side, my one arm hugging her shoulder, my other arm smoothing her wild hair that had been mussed by all the emotion.
But she felt unloved.
I had packed her lunch for the day, putting in her favorite snack and slipping a tiny paper with a joke on it into her bag of pretzels so she would smile and laugh and think of me.
She was wearing the outfit I had bought her and a ribbon in her hair that I (yes, the mom recovering from an allergy to crafts) had made for her with my own two clumsy hands.
Her favorite dinner was simmering on the stove.
Before bed the night before we had studied her Bible verses for the week and read together from books I ordered used online because they were out-of-print. But they were her favorite, so I had happily spent an afternoon performing Google searches to find them.
I had combed out her long blond hair after her bath and sprayed it down to ease out the tangles and reminded her to brush her teeth.
And I had told her I loved her often, hugged her and kissed the top of her head throughout the day, then tucked her into bed under the blanket I had made for her myself.
But still she felt unloved.
She didn’t know that some people grow up without the kindness, the physical provision, the confidence that they are loved.
So I told my crying girl how loved she is and how even when her emotions push their faulty lies into her heart and mind, she can shut them down with truth.
We’re just as forgetful as my daughter is at times, feeling unloved because of a circumstance, a correction, a trial or sadness. And we sit among our piles of blessings, of salvation and daily grace, and think, “God, don’t You love me?”
We meditate on the lies and feed them with our feelings, just like the Israelites did in the Old Testament.
Psalm 106 follows their long journey through forgetfulness and betrayal…
…they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses (verse 7).
But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold (verse 13).
They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea (verse 21-22).
They didn’t just forget minor provisions of lunch box meals and some new outfits for school.
They forgot miraculous deliverance out of slavery in Egypt, the parting of an entire body of water so they could cross on dry land, daily provision of manna from heaven and the protection from war-loving enemies on every side.
But always God was faithful:
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known…
Yet he took note of their distress
when he heard their cry;
for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented (Psalm 106:8, 4-45).
They forgot. He remembered.
“Yet, He….” it says in each verse. In my NKJV Bible, it says, “Nevertheless…”
That’s what God is...never at any moment less than good and powerful, mighty and merciful to us. He is never less than His character or His faithfulness to His promises.
Even when our feelings tell us otherwise.
Even when we’ve believed the lies.
Paul writes to Philemon:
I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ (Philemon 1:6 NIV).
His prayer was that the church would “get it,” would deep-down understand the blessings of God and the totally undeserved, thoroughly unconditional love of our so-gracious Father and the Savior who died in our place.
If we really believed that God loved us, we would have confidence for the bad days and strength for the hard times. We’d have the help we need when we’re annoyed, frustrated, tired or overwhelmed.
Even when we mess up we’d remember the truth: never-the-less He is faithful.
It’s God’s love that helps us stand strong.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King