[Jesus prayed,]“I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:23 (HCSB, my emphasis)
Jesus loves me, this I know… Do I? Do I live and think like I know this? Do I secretly wonder why God would love any of us? I mean we gripe and complain about the weather, our toys, who is the better gender, and who has control of what country.
God, You didn’t put any lines or borders on the world. You see every person as your child. You filled the earth with food but we complain because some of Your children are starving. You gave us beautiful blue skies and we pray for rain; it rains and we pray for sun, like we know what’s best any way.
This weekend we will spend more time and emotional energy watching a bunch of guys carry a ball around a 100-yard field than we did praising and thanking You. In fact, we might even skip worshiping You so we can prepare for or be at the football party! You have every reason to kick us to the curb but You love us!
The only life experience I have that gives me a glimpse into the realm of why God loves us is how I felt when I saw each of my children for the first time. I was filled with an emotion that I had never known and cannot adequately describe with mere words.
Nine months of experiences that included daily nausea and heartburn that was only overshadowed when I began to waddle and had to choose a seat in any room I was in based on which one I could fit in or get out of.
And once my child was born I was responsible to keep him or her warm, dry, fed and safe 24/7 which means sleeping was sporadic and my needs sat back on a distant burner. And did I receive thanks? No!All I have felt for each child is complete, no-holding-back love! The love that I thought I had inside of me was not divided by each child but multiplied by some indefinable number so that as I look at, think of, or hold each child I am consumed by how much I love him or her. God gave me this love for my children because it is how He feels about me!
God has no grandchildren or cousins – just children. Look into the face of my spouse, the cashier at the grocery store or the FedEx delivery guy and I will see God’s eyes, His hands, His feet, His smile. I am God’s child. You are God’s child. And He loves us!
Nothing can separate us from our Father’s love. Jesus said it (John 10:28-30) and so did Paul (Romans 8:38-39). In fact, go through the entire Bible and I bet every book will talk about God loving His children in some way. If I think I have done something too awful or disgusting for the Father to still love me – I’m wrong. God sees my sins and loves me. God sees my struggles and loves me. God sees my turning away from sin and starting again and loves me! Repentance is for me, not because God needs an apology. Repentance is me stepping closer to God and His love becomes more clear to me.
Yes, Jesus loves me. God’s Word tells me so. God Spirit speaks those wonderful words right into me. “I love you. I love you and I always will.”
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) written by John Newton & sung by Chris Tomlin