“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

As I was thinking about this verse the phrase, “He will rest in His love,” jumped out at me.

What does that mean—“He will rest in His love?

Recently I have been thinking about my life. As a father, I have made lots of mistakes. In the 26 years of parenting my two children I have often failed them. Failed to be Christlike. Failed to be balanced. Failed to be selfless. Failed to love them as God loves me, unconditionally, relentlessly, unquestionably. Failed to protect them from evil, to keep them safe.

I cannot rest in my love for anyone, but God can rest in His love for everyone.

When I compare my love for my children with my heavenly Father’s love for me, I realize how far short I have fallen. My children have scars. They have bad memories. They have a history of events and experiences that should never have happened. Not all of them are directly connected with decisions I made, attitudes I assumed, but many are. Too many. When I think back to my history as a parent, I can’t rest in my love for my children. I cannot rest in my love for anyone, but God can rest in His love for everyone.

When Jesus bowed His head in the thick darkness of God’s forsakenness (that was Golgotha) He rested in His Father’s love. It was the love He’d experienced up until this nightmare of soul anguish. His death was the outworking of His Father’s love, of His own love, of the united covenant bond of love for the guilty human race, for you and me. And God can rest in that. The God of heaven and earth can rest in His love. And He is calling us to rest in His love, not in our love.

If God rests in His love and I am called to be like Him, to be like Christ, to be a Christian, then I will choose to rest in His love as He does. Since God will rest in His love for everyone, so will I.

I have no love of my own to rest in. So rather than perish in the darkness of sin and guilt I choose this day, at this moment in time, to rest in God’s love just like He does. Amen.

James Rafferty

James has spent more than 30 years preaching the gospel around the world in revival seminars and evangelistic meetings. He and his wife Risë have two adult children, Jeiel and Kierra.