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About this series
He Holds Me Forever
Do you ever wish that you could experience love and relationships at a deeper level? For most of us, giving and receiving love in a healthy, God-honoring, and others-centered way does not come easily or naturally. Theresa Ingram shares her journey through broken relationships and a painful past that drove her to discover the truth about love and relationships, and how that discovery has set her free to love others and herself.More from this series
Well, His love is wide and His love is long. And it’s also high! It says His love is high. It’s so high that nothing can ever separate us. Nothing can ever separate us from His love. Romans 8:38 and 39 says, “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t and life can’t. The angels can’t. And the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.”
It says, “Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing can ever separate us from His love. It’s like, I picture a wall around our lives and it’s God and His love. And it’s surrounding us. And this wall is so high that nothing, nothing could ever separate you from Him. Not Satan, not your struggles, not your circumstances, not any person. Nothing. Not even you can separate you from God’s love. He will never, never stop loving you.
Well, His love is high, and His love is deep. And it’s so deep that no creature can really ever truly understand it. It’s so deep that His love reaches down into the depth of our discouragement. There’s not a place we can go that’s so deep that His love will not be there. It’s so deep that it reaches down into our despair and our heartache. It reaches into our confusion, into our disappointments, and our failures. His love reaches every area of our lives and He puts His arms around us and He cares for us as a loving Father would His precious child.
And it’s so deep that there’s nothing, so deep there’s nothing we could ever experience in our lives where His love would not be there with us. He grabs down and He gets a hold of us and He holds us fiercely.
I was thinking about when we were in London and riding on the subway and Annie was about ten years old and I remember, just the crowds were so large and just running into these trains and doors would close. And I was so afraid I was going to lose her in that crowd. And I held her hand fiercely – I held onto her. That’s how God is holding onto you. He is fiercely holding onto you.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are in your life. It doesn’t matter what you’re feeling. He’s holding onto you and He’s not going to let go. And you can’t make Him let go, even if you wanted to. That’s how much He loves you.
Well, if God loves us this much, then we need to ask a question: how would this change our lives? How should this affect our lives if we know that He loves us this much, that His love is so great, that He would never let go of us?
Well, first of all, we can live with absolute certainty that God will take care of us. If He loves us this much, then we can live with absolute certainty that He is going to take care of us. Romans 8:32, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?” Give us all things. If God loves us so much that He would sacrifice His Son to die on the cross, to bring us back into this relationship with Him, if He did that much for us, doesn’t it make sense that He would care for our lives, that He would take care of us? He cares about us in every aspect of our lives, down to the smallest detail. He cares about everything.
He knows you. And He wants you to have what is best and His best that He has to give. And this is the God who, in the Scriptures, He tells us that, “The young lions do lack, He says, “and suffer hunger; but those who wait on the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.”
This is the kind of God that is taking care of our needs. He says that we can put all of our cares upon Him, because He cares for us. And He says that He cares about the lilies of the field. He cares about the birds of the sky – how much more does He care about you and your needs?
And He is a God who promises us that He will bring about good in everything that we will ever go through. And He is willing and able to meet any physical, emotional, or spiritual need that we will ever have in a way that will bring about our best and will help us to become more like Christ.
The God who said He gave His own Son on the cross to die for me cares about my needs. He cares about everything in my life.
And He reaches into every area of our lives. And He says, “You are My child and I will continually give you all that you need in a way that is best for your life.
In Matthew, when Jesus was encouraging His followers to pray and they asked for whatever it is they needed, He said, “Or what man is there among you when his son shall ask him for a loaf will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him?”
So, let me ask you, what is it that you need to see God take care of in your life? What do you need to see God take care of? What are you most concerned about?
Now, is it a relationship that you’re in? Is it a job? It’s your health? Is it a child? Is it your finances? “He that spared not His Son but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not with Him freely give us all things?” That’s a promise.
And because God loves you so much, we can live with absolute certainty that He is going to take care of us. Now, His way may look a little different than what we think, but we can, by faith, trust in Him for every need in our lives.
Well, secondly, if God loves me this much, I can live with the awareness that my life is very valuable and important to God. When Christ died on the cross, out of that great love, God shows you and me to be His very own.
Do you know what God says about you in Isaiah 41? He says, “I have chosen you and not rejected you.” You are chosen! In Ephesians 1 it says, it’s in your notes, it says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise and the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
He has chosen us and He has adopted us as His own, as His children. You know, an adopted child is a chosen and wanted child. And He has chosen us and adopted us. And in Psalm 139 He says He knows everything about our lives. He says that every thought and every word that comes out of our mouths, He knows about it before we even speak the word.
And you know what? He still loves us! It doesn’t matter what comes out of our mouth and He thinks about us. He says He thinks about us all the time and that His thoughts for us are precious to Him and precious and good.
And I’m sure some of you know what it feels like to be rejected. Well, I have experienced a lot of rejection in my life in the past. And it’s hard to be rejected, to feel rejected, to be the one that is left out – to feel like that. To feel like everyone fits in but me. And to feel so alone.
And sometimes we experience so much rejection in our lives that it’s difficult for us to really believe that God wants us. And rejection is a terrible thing; it’s a painful thing. To be rejected by someone that we love is very painful. Or to be rejected maybe because of our background or because of our outward appearance. Or maybe because – we’re rejected even by Christians who are supposed to love us. See, it’s a painful thing and we all experience that, have experienced it before I’m sure.
When Chip and I were planning to get married, when we were praying about getting married, it was during a time, this was lots of years ago, but it was a time when many of the churches hadn’t worked through the divorce issue or believed that there was a place for a divorced person to serve in the Church.
Well, I was divorced and I had two little boys. And so, it was painful to me to hear from people in the Church, from godly people, people that I looked up to, that if I married Chip, they said I would ruin his life. That’s what they said.
And they said that if I married Chip, God would never be able to use His life in ministry. That’s a joke! Well, and one organization had plans for Chip’s life all laid out, his whole future. But it was obvious it didn’t include me. And so, it was hard. It hurt deeply to go through that. And we had to work through that as we prayed through: was this marriage something God wanted for us? Was this His will?
And so, what I learned though is that I could run into the arms of my heavenly Father and He would never reject me, that He was waiting for me all the time to come to Him. And He says to us, He says, “I love you. And, in fact, you’re so important to Me that I sent My Son for you. And you’re so important to Me that I sent My Holy Spirit to live inside of you. You’re My sanctuary. You’re My temple. I love you that much. And I choose to dwell with you.” And He says, “I understand how you feel. I know how you feel. But I will never, ever leave you. I will never leave you. I will never reject you.” Because He says, “You’re My treasure. You’re My precious one.” We can live with the awareness in our lives that we are very valuable and wanted and important to God.
Well, the third thing here is I can live with freedom from guilt and condemnation because I will be forgiven and welcomed into His arms no matter how badly I have messed up. We need to remember that one.
I have special memories of my son Ryan when he was a little child. When he would disobey and I would spank him, he would cry for just a couple of minutes and then as soon as he calmed down he would run right back into my lap for love and a hug. He was just that kind of a kid. And he would admit his wrong and he would take his discipline and then he would get over it immediately because he knew he was loved. He knew that I loved him. And then he would go on his happy little way. And he didn’t pout, he didn’t let what he had done wrong and being disciplined ruin the rest of his day, and he didn’t think that I loved him any less or that I didn’t want to be around him. But he would run right back into my arms.
And you see, I think that’s what our heavenly Father wants us to do, that He knows that we are going to make mistakes in our lives. He knows that we are going to mess up, that we are going to sin and that when we disobey, we are going to let Him down sometimes.
And he will discipline us as a heavenly Father, a loving Father would – any father should. But He wants us to run right back into His arms. In Hebrews 4 it says, “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but one who has been tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin.” He understands everything we go through. “Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”
And it goes on to say, “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I love Hannah Whitall Smith’s writings. And I think she says this very well when she says, “Discouragement at our own failures is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against us. And the only way to baffle him, to baffle Satan, is to do what I say and so repeat.” She says, “Confess, be forgiven, and forget the whole thing.” You know? And I think that’s pretty good advice. How many times do we just hammer ourselves into the ground? And we don’t receive the forgiveness and love that God has to give us.
And no matter how badly, no matter how badly you have run from Him, or how badly you have messed up, your Father is waiting for you, like my son Ryan as a little boy, to run right back into His arms for a love and a hug.
And the fourth thing here is I can live with the assurance that God deeply loves my unsaved loved ones and never stops pursuing them. In Matthew 18, it says, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. Thus, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.”
You know, God loves our unsaved family members. He loves our moms and our dads, our children, our sisters, our brothers, our husbands – He loves our family members and our friends who don’t know Him. He loves them!
I have a very close family member who doesn’t know the Lord and I pray and I pray and I prayed for a long time. And I don’t know if his heart will ever change. I don’t know if he’ll ever come to know the Lord as his Savior. But I do have the assurance that God loves him so much. And God will never quit pursuing him. And he’ll pursue his life as there is the opportunity for him to change his heart and to invite Christ into his life.
You see, I have that assurance that God loves him so much that He will keep pursuing him as long as there is hope that he will turn to Him.
And because we know, the Scripture tells us that before we were saved, before we knew the Lord, He loved us. He loved us first as the parent loves the little baby. And He loves our unsaved loved ones in that same way. And so, we should never lose hope and we should never stop praying, because God loves them that much.
And the fifth thing here is I can live with the confidence that my future is secure in His hands, whether on earth or in heaven. Sometimes thinking about the future is a scary thing for us.
And I do find myself, at times, having anxious thoughts and wondering and getting a little worried from time to time. But the future can be unsettling in different ways. We could think about, Well, will I ever get married? Or, Will my children walk with God when they grow up? Will they walk with God? What will my old age look like? I don’t know! Will I be okay, financially? What if we have another terrorist attack? Will my son have to go to war someday? There are so many, so many unknowns. What would it be like when all my kids leave home and I have the empty nest? What will happen to me?
Many unknowns in our lives, but because God loves us, our future is secure. And we can face whatever comes into our lives with confidence, because He has a plan and His plan is good, that no matter what the circumstances are and no matter how I feel, His plan is good for the future.
And as we talked about before in Romans 8:38 and 39, that nothing, nothing in the future could ever separate us with the love of God. Nothing at all.
And then in Philippians 3:20 and 21 it says, “But we are citizens of heaven where the Lord Jesus Christ lives and we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take these weak, mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same mighty power that He will use to conquer everything, everywhere.”
You see, our future is secure, whether today when we are on the earth or someday when we are in heaven, our future is secure, because God loves us that much. And this is the how great the love is that your heavenly Father has for you.
As a child, the only time I remember my dad ever touching me was when he spanked me. And the only other time was I remember being a little kid and being in the bathtub and him giving me a bath and scrubbing my head, scrubbing my hair. And he didn’t realize how strong he was, but it hurt when he scrubbed my head. And that’s the only times I remember my dad ever touching me when I was growing up.
And then when I grew up and I had children of my own and then my first husband left me, I experienced loneliness like I had never had in my whole life. It was just a terrible thing. And I longed for someone to come and put their arms around me, someone to hold me, and someone to comfort me. And there was no one there.
And one day, I was in the kitchen, I was visiting my parents and I was in the kitchen with my dad and he was cooking a meal. And that was one of the ways, I have learned, that he expressed his love. He liked to cook. And if he cooked you a meal, that was him saying that he loved you. But I didn’t understand that at the time. But he was cooking this meal and I was feeling so lonely and hurting so much. And as I was standing there watching him cook, I couldn’t stand it anymore. And I said, “Daddy, would you hug me? Would you hold me?” And he turned around and he put his arms around me. And it was the first time in my life that I felt my dad’s arms hold me and love me and felt the comfort of his strong arms around me.
And you see so many times our earthly dads, they don’t mean to, I don’t think most of them intentionally mean to, but they don’t love us in the way that we need. And people let us down. But our heavenly Father says that He has a kind of love to give us, that He will put His arms around us, that He will never let go. And He will hold us forever.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.” And that is what we are. It’s a fact.