He is Fiercely Loyal

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It isn’t ironic that this week we are dwelling on loyalty and what it means for our lives.

This week, in my life, means I’m hopping on a long flight to Texas with my two kids strapped next to me, heading to celebrate my high school best friend’s marriage to her boyfriend of nearly 12 years. Even back when we all had just gotten our licenses and were suffering hormonal acne, we’d all joke about how fiercely loyal my friend was and still is. She’d stick up for anyone who she had determined was her friend, and she stood by them in fair or foul weather. Even half of a country away and years separating us, this friend of mine still proves her loyalty in honoring me with the position of a bridesmaid. In her mind, the simple fact that we loved each other once will forever make me worthy of her steadfast loyalty. A friend like that doesn’t come by very often, and I am sad to say that loyalty to friends isn’t an area I have much authority on.

Growing up, moving a lot, I learned to pull myself up from the roots and never look back. I believe that has developed some qualities of flakiness in me, and I daily fight the urge to do this thing called life “solo”.

The closer I get to Jesus, the more clearly I perceive that sticking with people is actually one of the most striking similarities we can share with our faithful Creator. He is forever loyal.

He started out passionate about humans, and He is still passionate about humans. Once a child, always a child. His love is not weak or flighty. It is jealous because it is best, strong because it is perfect, and trustworthy because He is true.

One of my favorite stories about Jesus’ grace is about the apostle Peter. After denying Jesus three times on the most excruciatingly painful night of His earthly life, and running away from Him as He carried His own cross to the sight of His own crucifixion, Jesus returns from the dead fiercely determined to reinstate His dear friend. On the salty shores of Galilee, Jesus grabs Peter’s sense of guilt by it’s lapels and says, “Peter, do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?” And Peter, at first ashamed to claim that he could ever “agape” (the Greek word meaning unconditionally love) Jesus after his own blatant failure, is able to say three times that he does love Jesus. And Jesus, ever full of grace and truth, His hands and feet still perhaps raw from His wounds, puts Peter back in the authority and relational proximity that Peter feared he had lost forever. “Feed my sheep, when I am gone, I trust you. I choose you. I affirm you and appoint you and your failure does not scare me.”

He says that to our hearts still, no matter what or where we are, He is for us today. His fiercely loyal heart beats in a passion for us to walk in His calling.

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