He Loves Me!
This devotional is a series of excerpts from Wayne Jacobsen's life changing book, He Loves Me! Download a PDF of this book by clicking the link below.
Day 2: Convincing Evidence
What about you? Have you ever felt tossed back and forth by circumstances occasionally certain, but mostly uncertain about how the Creator of the universe feels about you? Or perhaps you've never even known how much God loves you.
In a Bible study recently, I met a forty-year-old woman who was active in her fellowship but admitted to a small group of us that she had never been certain that God loved her. She seemed to want to tell me more, but finally only asked me to pray for her. As I did, asking God to reveal just how much he loved her, an image came to mind. I saw a figure I knew to be Jesus walking through a meadow hand in hand with a little girl about five years old. Somehow I knew this woman was that little girl. I prayed that he would help her discover a childlikeness of spirit that would allow her to skip through the meadows with him.
When I finished praying I looked up at her eyes that were brimming with tears.
"Did you say 'meadow'?" she asked.
I nodded, thinking it odd she had focused on that word.
Immediately she began to cry. As she was able to speak, she said, "I wasn't sure I wanted to tell you. When I was five years old I was molested in a meadow by an older boy. Whenever I think about God, I think about that horrible event and I wonder why, if he loved me so much, he didn't stop that from happening."
She's not alone. Many people carry scars and disappointments that can appear to be convincing evidence that the God of love might not exist, or if he does, maintains a safe distance from them and leaves them to the whim of other people's sins.
I don't have a stock answer for moments like that, as if any could be effective in the midst of such pain. I told her, that evidently God wanted her to know he had been there with her, and although he didn't act in the only way she could understand true love to act, that he loved her nonetheless. He wanted to walk her through that defiled meadow and redeem it in her life.
He wanted to give her a measure of joy in the face of the most traumatic event of her life and turn what was supposed to destroy her into a stepping stone toward grace. I know that can sound almost trite in the face of such incredible pain, but the process has begun for her. It is my hope these words will encourage that process in you, as well. For truly God has never acted towards us in any way other than with a depth of love that defies human understanding. I know it may not look like that at times. When he seems to callously disregard our most noble prayers, our trust in him can be easily shattered and we wonder if he cares for us. We can even come up with a list of our own failures that can seemingly justify God's indifference and beckon us into a dark whirlpool of self-loathing.
When we're playing the he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not-game, the evidence against God can appear overwhelming. For reasons we shall see throughout these pages, God does not often do the things we think his love would compel him to do for us. He often seems to stand by with indifference while we suffer. How often does he seem to disappoint our most noble expectations?
But perception is not necessarily reality. If we define God only in our limited interpretation of our own circumstances, we will never discover who he really is.
However, he has provided a far better way, where our daisy-petal approach to Christianity can be swallowed up by the undeniable proof of his love for us on the cross of Calvary. That's the side of the cross that has all but been ignored in recent decades. We have not seen what really happened there between the Father and his Son that opens the door to his love so vast and so certain that it cannot be challenged even by your darkest days.
Through that door we can really know who God is and embrace the relationship with him that the deepest part of our heart has hungered to experience. That is where we'll begin, because it is only in the context of the relationship God desires with us that we can begin to discover the full glory of his love.
He does love you more deeply than you've ever imagined; and he has done so throughout your entire life. Once you embrace that truth, your troubles will never again drive you to question God's affection for you or whether you've done enough to merit it. Instead of fearing he has turned his back on you, you will be able to trust his love at the moments you need him most. You will even see in the strangest ways how that love can flow out of you to touch a world starved for it.
Learning to trust him like that is not something any of us can resolve in an instant; but something we'll grow to discover for the whole of our lives. God knows how difficult it is for us to accept his love and teaches us with more patience than we've ever known. Through every circumstance and in the most surprising ways, he makes his love known to us in ways we can understand.
So perhaps it's time to toss your daisies aside and discover that it is not the fear of losing God's love that will keep you on his path, but the simple joy of living in it every day. On the day you discover that, you will truly begin to live!
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! -1 John 3:1