As part of my morning devotions, I was reading an excerpt from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a theologian in the 20th Century most well-known for his book entitled, The Cost of Discipleship. He has a number of other writings including the one I read during the devotion. In the passage, he was reflecting on Psalm 63, particularly 63:3. The Psalmist writes, "Your steadfast love is better than life." It's a beautiful passage. But to some who experience the deepest woes of life, or are in the midst of difficulty, might find these words to be glib or trite.
However, as Bonhoeffer reflects, these words were not written on a day when the weather was nice and all is well. Rather, these words were penned when the "pillars of life had crumbled away. Where the [Psalmist's] hand thought it had firm support it reached out into an empty nothingness." In other words, the author finds himself looking for support only to discover all the things he had counted on are gone. The author's enemies stood at his doorstep lying in wait for him to fall, and he felt alone and helpless. And yet, from the depths of his soul comes the phrase, "Your steadfast love is better than life." Bonhoeffer states, "That is one of the words that does not let you go once you have understood it, a word that seems to shine gently...from the world of the Bible not from our own." All the other pillars on which he had hoped had disappeared, except for those words. Those words held the Psalmist in hope of a new day. And they were words based on God's faithfulness in the past which uphold one in the present.
I'm often reminded of life's difficulties. Life certainly has its many bright spots. It is full of wonder and love. But we are also met in this life with heartache, pain, and difficulty. Such can feel like a lonely endeavor. We may even purposely distance ourselves from the ones we love and cherish. Even God at times may seem at a distance. However, God's steadfast love is better than life. God's love isn't dependent upon us. Rather God's love is dependent upon God. And God remains steadfast and faithful to us. And because of this, God's love is truly better than life. Such a love comes not from our willpower to make it happen, or our ability to earn it; it comes from God's willingness to give it. And God in Jesus Christ throughout history has proven God's faithfulness toward us.
Today you may be struggling in some manner. You may feel alone. You may feel overwhelmed. Or you may know someone who is. Know God's love is better than life. God is indeed faithful. You or they may not feel it. But it's not based on our ability to feel it. It is based on God.