God’s Faithfulness and Our Worth

Hearing the chirping commotion commence suddenly from just outside our front door, Peggy had an inkling. Over the past several years, she had stretched a barely visible hairnet over our Christmas wreath in order to prevent birds from nesting there. This time, however, two house finches seeking shelter had made their way into the wreath’s center, apparently gaining entry from behind. Both were trapped, and one was entangled.

Donning a pair of leather gloves, Peggy used scissors to extricate the frightened couple. As she cut the netting, Mama finch was able to fly free. Papa, however, was caught in the net, so Peggy gently wrapped one gloved hand around his fragile body while speaking to him in soft tones. As she reached with the other hand to pull back the netting, he gently tapped her gloved finger with his beak and held still, seemingly trusting her to do what he could not do for himself. She maneuvered him out of the netting, opened her hand, and he flew off to join his mate.

Jesus once challenged his disciples, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”1 Sometimes it doesn’t feel like God knows our predicaments and entanglements or the fear that makes them worse. But He does know them—be they physical, spiritual, relational, mental or emotional—and He assures us He is in control. So we trust Him and choose to take Him at His word: “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”2 And I think we could add house finches, too.

Father, forgive me when I fear to trust You. Calm me in Your hand, and free me from my captivity, whatever form it may take. You are always good—I know this full well. Amen.

1 Matthew 10:29-30
2 Matthew 10:31



Sports loves to crown its champions. This is why we grind and compete for an entire season: to win and to become the greatest. Baseball pops the cork on its World Series winners, Super Bowl rings adorn the gnarled knuckles of the NFL’s best, and hockey hoists Lord Stanley’s Cup. But NASCAR is different, for it holds its most elite event, the Daytona 500, not at season’s end, but at its beginning. Afterward the matter is settled: regardless of what happens the rest of the year—win or lose—whoever captures the flag at NASCAR’s inaugural event remains its greatest champion. This is likewise true of all who are born of the Spirit of God by faith in the Son of God: though our season on earth here continues, we have already won. “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us,”1 proclaimed Paul. It is fait accompli—a done deal, historic fact. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2

Still, the rest of the season awaits its champions: we have miles to go, some of them grueling and some of them not. We will at times face rejection, persecution or dangers for the sake of the Kingdom,3 yet in Christ we are champions, and absolutely nothing will be able “to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”4 Then it is in this confidence—the complete certainty of God’s limitless love for us—that we “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”5 We share the apostle’s assurance: “in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”6 God loves to crown His champions.

Many have gone on before us in seasons of the past, and many will follow in times yet to come. This, though, is our season. This is our time to persevere in Christ as winners in Christ. Our crown awaits. It won’t be long.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2.

Father, You have already made us winners in Christ Jesus. Send us Your Spirit to lead us, that we would live as Your champions. Find us faithful. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Romans 8:37
2 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
3 Romans 8:35
4 Romans 8:39
5 Philippians 3:14 NASB
6 2 Timothy 4:8 NASB


One Word

It had been too long since my lifelong friend and I had caught up with each other, so as I planned for a visit in the city where he now lived, we arranged to meet for breakfast. We updated each other on our families and recounted childhood memories—still cherished and somehow sweeter with age—before discussing meatier matters of the present. For decades Steve had endured addiction and also the messes that flow from it only to return and feed it once again. As we met, he had been sober for a few years (and remains so still today), relying daily on the love and power of God and the selfless support of friends. Steve recounted to me that, four months into his recovery, he and two friends had a deep conversation about turning one’s life over to God, and at that moment he felt the Spirit of God come over him—“It was like a thousand-pound weight off my shoulders.” Of the change in his life, my friend told me, “When I wake, the first thing I say to God is, ‘I love you, too.’”

Did you catch that—“I love you, too”? I cannot recall what Steve said after that, for my mind was racing to process what was to me a one-word sermon: “Too.” For who says, “I love you, too,” but the one already basking in the assurance of love from another? “Too” is the return of a love first received; it is the peaceful reply of the humbled heart; it is the echo resounding from the grateful soul. “I love you, too” professes the origin of love, for “love comes from God”1; it proclaims His character and rejoices before Him. And “too” testifies to this truth—“We love because he first loved us.”2 His love is pure freedom, and in this confidence we respond with these words and with our entire being from which they flow, “I love you, too.”

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. —1 John 4:16-17.

God, I love you and your Son always and forever. Amen.

1 1 John 4:17
2 1 John 4:19