The Unbreakable Tether Of Love
“My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.” Micah 6:3
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
When I was in elementary school I periodically enjoyed playing tetherball. Two of us would stand on opposite sides of a pole and try to cause a ball attached to a cord to wind around that pole in the direction we wanted. It was not a very complicated game to play. But every once in awhile the ball would detach from the cord and go flying off in a random direction. This was not part of the game and we couldn’t continue until the ball and cord were reattached. It sort of sucked the life out of the game.
My life at times seems like a game of tetherball where I am in danger of becoming detached as result of various blows and direct hits to my circumstances in life. Some of these blows are of my own making, a reflection of my resistance to being tethered to anything but my own ego and agenda. When I am detached my tendency is to drift without a sense of direction and purpose. When I am detached I am isolated and alone, no longer a part of something larger. Humanity, created by God out of love, was always intended to be tethered to God in a life-giving way. God is the source of life and to disconnect from the source eventually leads to death rather than life.
I have, at times, a tendency to identify this tethered relationship with God as a burden rather than a blessing. In Micah 6 the Lord asks the question, “How have I burdened you?” The reality is that God’s actions in relating to me are motivated by His goodness and therefore result in my best interests. I can easily mistakenly define freedom as the absence of the tether to God, a disconnection from relationship to Him. But in doing so I seek freedom from the very being that gives life and meaning to me. It has been the initiative of God to establish a relationship with humanity. He has chosen to “tether” Himself to us in love.
When I think of that tether visually, I see God attached to me by a cord. If I choose to live my life always elevated above God, where my will and agenda are most important, then God will always seem like a burden I am forced to carry with me. If I choose to humbly exalt God above me, where His will and intention are always seeking my best, then I become the one carried by the God of infinite strength and power who sees me not as a burden to be born, but as a person to be blessed with mercy, compassion and care.
But the reality is, even when I might seek to disconnect from God, to sever the tether of relationship, there is a promise I cannot escape. The apostle Paul says in Romans 8 that nothing can separate me from the love of God. This is God’s tether of love, a cord woven by Him before the creation of the world. It is an infinitely strong tether and nothing from my side can ever sever that cord. The most I can do is turn from God and move in an oppositional way to Him. The strength of God’s tether of love will not break, but as I strain against Him I will experience Him as a burden and not a blessing. My choice is to either celebrate the tether of God’s love or resent and strain against the tether of His love. The way of resistance will misidentify God as a burden. The other way of surrender to Him will experience the blessing of being connected to the source of life and love. I have discovered that God is only a burden when I resist His tether of love.
As you consider your journey this day, this week or this month, what are the places you are resisting God’s unbreakable tether of love and experiencing Him as a burden rather than a blessing? How might you surrender to His unbreakable tether of love and allow Him to care for you and provide His infinite grace, strength and guidance on your journey?
Here is a song to further your reflection upon God’s tether of love.