where love is alive 

As an avid sports lover, this is one of my favorite times of the year.  My kids are wide open into the sports they love and even though I am not a very good basketball player, I swoon over watching the NCAA basketball tournament.  Over the years, the tournament has affectionately become known as “March Madness.”  This is in large part due to the number of upsets that happen in the tournament every single year.  If your team is the lower seed, it is an exhilarating ride to upset a higher ranked team, and on a few occasions, create several upsets.  These teams become known as “Cinderella” and oftentimes become the darling of the entire tournament.  Some of you may remember a similar run the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga made in the late 90’s.  It was so much fun watching them win game after game that they weren’t supposed to.  The national media loved them, and it was fantastic to turn on ESPN and here them talking about our local team.  This annual happening in the tournament just underscores the idea of “March Madness” being total chaos.

The idea of madness or chaos in a basketball tournament can be a lot of fun, but in life, it’s not what we desire.  Unfortunately, chaos does happen in our lives, it’s just part of living.  On Wednesday nights with our youth, we have begun a series I have entitled “God’s Promises for Teenagers.”  Of course, the promises are for all of us, but I have picked a few out that would resonate deeply with teens.  The first one we focused on was the promise that “nothing can separate us from the love of God” (Roman 8:38).  God’s love is promised to ALWAYS be with us.  There simply will never be a time when it’s not present in our lives.  There is no force strong enough to take it away from us, no place we can go that it’s not there, no act or failure in our lives that takes it away from us and nothing that can happen to us that points to God not loving us.  It is a hard and fast promise of God that His love will ALWAYS be with us.

Chaos is going to come into our lives.  Things will seem out of control, it may even feel like madness.  But no matter what is happening in your life, you can count on God’s love being right there with you.  It’s not going to leave you or forsake you.  In the darkest times in your life, God’s love will be right there with you.  Thinking about this reminds me of the old poem “Footprints in the Sand.”  The first time I read it that it resonated with me was at my Mammaw’s house, and I have never forgotten it.  In summation, it tells the story of a man walking in the sand with God, with the walk being symbolic of the man’s life.  For much of his life there were two sets of footprints, but in the rough seasons of his life, he noticed there was only one set of footprints. To this point he asked God why He left him in those chaotic seasons.  God replied, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you- never, ever, during your trials and testings.  When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

God is with you and He loves you deeply.  This love will never leave you and THAT is a promise to hold on to.                                                                                              -Jason

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