I first heard the definition of this word from Professor/Pastor Randy a few months ago, and it didn’t mean anything in particular to me. “Hesed”, Hebrew, often translated as “lovingkindess” or “unfailing love”. Literally meaning “the love that will not let me go”. So I wrote it down in my Bible like a faithful Bible student, but didn’t really give in a second thought.
And then this week happened. Sunday night, Grace Church held Communion, and I loved the way they went through the service. Before each part of the sacrament (Grace Brethren Churches do three-fold communion), they held invited the Church to give testimonies. Before the Bread and the Cup, they asked people to share how they came to know/surrender to Christ. Before foot washing people shared how God has used the experiences and choices of their lives to show them Himself and make them more like Jesus. And before the Love Feast people talked about who they would like to become, what they would like to do/experience, before Christ’s return.
And as my brothers and sisters were speaking, a thought kept echoing inside my mind. God has kept me from so much, and has saved me to so much…. And then I remembered Hesed. “The love that will not let me go.” In spite of all the pain in my life, in spite of the relational atomic bomb that my family experienced this past year, in spite of all the negative, addictive, painful habits and choices I have to draw from in my heritage, God has “not let me go”.
It doesn’t make any sense on paper; really, I should be a rebellious, boy-hungry, addicted, punk teenager, desperate to fill the gaping holes inside me with whatever/whoever I can get my hands on. A raging whirlwind of drama and self-destruction, intent on doing things my way. But, I’m not. My sister and I are nothing as we should be. Instead of hardening us against God and other relationships, the pain we’ve experience in our lives has softened us, making us cling harder to Jesus and those He’s put in our paths.
And it’s only because of His grace. His Hesed. When I look at my life, and I compare those “two Jessi’s”, the one that should be and the one that is, I’m left on my knees in awe. Who is this God who never gives up, who never stops loving, who never stops pursuing, who never neglects, who never abandons? Who is this God who is continually crafting me into the likeness of His Son, who, with each chisel stroke, chips another piece of me away, only to replace it with His material? This is the God I serve. This is the God I’m privileged to be in relationship with. This is the God, the Love, who will not let me go!
Praise God for His Hesed.