Two Ways God’s Relentless Love Refills Our Courage
By Sharla Fritz
Bravery may not seem related to love, but God’s relentless love can continually refill our courage. Let me explain.
When I first started to scribble a few words that I hoped to publish someday, I attended a writers’ conference. One of the perks of attending the conference was the opportunity to meet with an agent, editor, or other publishing professional. I signed up to pitch my idea for a book with an editor from a publishing house, but as I waited at the back of the room for my turn, I got more and more nervous. So nervous, in fact, that another conference attendee noticed my anxiety, approached me, and kindly asked if she could pray with me. What a gift! I needed that time of prayer to have the courage to go through with the appointment.
When I reflect on what made me so anxious, I see a couple of reasons for my fear:
- I worried I wasn’t good enough.
- I compared myself to others.
Insecurity often leads to fear. Where do we go to overcome that anxiety? God’s Word. Lately, I’ve found reassurance in the often cryptic book of Hosea. At first this book filled me with confusion as I tried to decipher its symbolism, but a deeper look uncovered a beautiful picture of God’s unfailing love. And the more I immersed myself in that love, the more the Holy Spirit dispelled my fears and filled my heart with courage.
1. God’s Unfailing Love Reassures Me That I Don’t Need to Be Perfect
At the writers’ conference, I feared that my work would not measure up. I panicked that the professional writers would laugh at my feeble attempts at putting words together.
At times you might also wonder: Do I measure up? And this may even lead to doubt of God’s love for you.
But Scripture reassures us that God’s love doesn’t depend on our perfection. In the book of Hosea, God asked the prophet to “take to yourself a wife of whoredom” (Hosea 1:2). That’s right. God wanted Hosea to marry a prostitute. Why? Because the Lord wanted Hosea’s marriage to an unfaithful woman to demonstrate His own love for nation of Israel. Hosea’s love for his wife Gomer illustrated Yahweh’s love for His wayward people and even now demonstrates that God’s love isn’t determined by our goodness. His unconditional love continues even when we mess up, even when we fail.
When we rest in that love, we have the courage to try new things and step into roles we haven’t attempted before. God reassures us that we don’t have to perform flawlessly in order to receive His love
2. God’s Relentless Love Tells Me it’s OK to Be Myself
At the writers’ conference, I wanted to look as successful as the woman I met there who had published over 100 articles. I had zilch experience in this writing thing and felt about two inches tall next to her.
At one point in the book of Hosea, the prophet’s wife Gomer leaves him and goes back to her old life. I wonder why. Did she start comparing herself to the people in Hosea’s circle? The pious Jews? The ones who knew Yahweh’s law? Did she look at herself and decide she didn’t fit in?
Whatever the reason, God told Hosea to bring Gomer back and love her again as a picture of His unconditional love.
When we compare ourselves to other people, our courage may fade. We may want to stand at the back of the room, never taking a chance. We might argue that we shouldn’t even try because we could never do anything as well as the woman in the spotlight. But if we accept the fact that God loves each one of us just as we are and created each person with unique gifts, then we can find the courage to use those distinctive talents, confident in God’s relentless love.
God Loves Us Freely
In the last chapter of Hosea, God tells the stubborn Israelite nation, “I will love them freely” (Hosea 14:4). He speaks these words to us, too. He doesn’t say, “I will love them reluctantly.” Or, “I will love them if they jump through a myriad of hoops.” No, God loves us freely, unconditionally.
At that first writers’ conference fear ate up my courage, but basking in God’s relentless love refills me. When we realize we don’t have to perform perfectly to receive Christ’s love, our courage grows. The Holy Spirit frees us to use our unique gifts as we let go of comparison. Jesus’ passion for us enables us to serve as we do it out of gratitude instead of fear of not measuring up.
In His Word, God reminds us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). So live in the truth of God’s relentless love for you and step out to serve with the confidence that comes from that love.
Sharla Fritz is a WLI ambassador and serves on the planning committee for the 2022 WLI National Conference. She is the author of several Bible studies including, God’s Relentless Love: A Study of Hosea (CPH). Find out more about Sharla at sharlafritz.com.WLI