Love has been a major theme in my thoughts lately. Maybe it’s because the month of flowers, roses, hearts and candy is upon us. Maybe it’s because I’m currently studying the book of John. OR, it could be because I’ve been struggling with who I am and what I’m doing, and God is reaching out and reminding me of his love. Whatever the reason, the idea of love has filled my mind so much that I have ventured into crafts, put hearts all over our dining room, and started planning heart shaped pancakes and chocolate covered strawberries.
LOVE. Not romantic, mushy-gushy love. The love of Jesus. Self-sacrificing love. That love.
When I started reading John, I felt the overwhelming need to take it slowly. To evaluate every word. To ask “why” after almost every sentence. I started questioning meanings of words I’ve known for years. Words like “Pharisee” and “Rabbi.” I couldn’t fight the desire to squeeze as much as possible out of every syllable. I have read and studied for hours, days…and I haven’t even finished chapter 3.
I keep coming back to the completely amazing idea that Jesus, the son of God, loves us. Loves ME. People in this world have let me down. They have hurt me. They have chosen themselves over my well being in a way that has caused permanent damage to my soul…or at least that’s what it feels like. There are days I can barely look in the mirror because all I see is something damaged and wrong. There are nights I toss and turn all night…afraid to close my eyes, afraid of what is waiting for me in my subconscious. On top of this, there is everything I have done wrong. All my wrong choices…
And THIS. THIS is who Jesus loves? THIS is who Jesus died for? THIS is who Jesus chose over himself? It seems almost impossible, but when I started reading John, I was reminded it isn’t impossible, it is TRUTH. I CAN count on God. I can TRUST him to never leave me alone. I am not damaged. I am SAFE.
But when I look up from my Bible, outside my house, I hear people blaming God for horrible situations and cursing him for allowing bad things to happen. This disquiets my spirit so much that I must speak. Speak and remind people of a truth that is being ignored! God is not evil and hurtful. That is a misconception.
The truth is…
God LOVES you!
If he knows the deepest, darkest, parts of me and can still shower me with reminders of my importance to him, then the same goes for you. If he can see my reluctance to look in the mirror and start working on my insecurities, then the same goes for you. If he can take a book of the Bible that I have already read and studied, and speak directly to my soul with it, then the same goes for YOU.
Remember, this is the same God that created the universe. The same God that decided the world needed you in it before it could be complete. The same God that gave his son. The same God that died and suffered torture to rescue you. The same God that rose from the dead and is preparing a place for you in heaven. This is the God I am talking about. Do you really think a God with this much love for you would make bad things happen to you, just to watch you squirm under his thumb? No. Absolutely not.
God gave us a perfect world, but he also gave us free will. The ability to not choose him. Adam and Eve chose to eat the one thing God asked them not to and because of that, everything changed. Because of sin, we will suffer. We DO suffer. But it is not God’s will for us. I can promise you that if he is willing to die for you, it doesn’t make him feel good to watch you go through bad times.
He is the only one who completely loves every bit of you, the only one you can count on to love you through everything. At times he may be your only advocate, your only comforter. He is the one who sees your eyes turn down away from the mirror and whispers, “You look exactly how I planned. Beautiful and perfect.”
You have a special love in Jesus. Don’t spoil it. Don’t mock it. Don’t misplace blame. Life is short and God is good. Enjoy his creation, build a relationship with your King. When faced with hurt, take it to him for help. And if you don’t know him yet, you should meet him. It will change your life…