Of course, this was all just child’s play but in the last few months, I have realized that I have often treated the thought of God’s Love the same way., except that if I thought my last petal was going to be a “He loves me not”, I could somehow start over by adjusting something in my living or in my thinking to change the way God felt about me, thus getting me back into His good graces. At times in my Christian life, I have thought that I needed to live holy for God to love me, or I needed to do certain things in a certain way at a certain time for a certain amount of time for God to love me. I was constantly in a quandary concerning His love for me. If I was living well, I thought “He loves me.” If I was struggling, I definitely thought “He loves me not” or He is at the very least highly displeased with me right now. In fact, I often used to wonder how thick the page that held my name in the Book of LIfe was because I felt that God had probably erased my name and written it back in so many times that it must be wearing dangerously thin. What would happen when there was no more paper to write on because the eraser had worn a hole in the space where my name had been?
Now you might laugh at this thought because you are totally secure in God’s love, but when I became a Christian, I was completely insecure where love was concerned. That day, I had an encounter with God’s supernatural love and I so desperately needed it. I was sitting in a church I had never attended. I didn’t know a soul there. I had recently married and moved away from my family for the first time. My marriage was not going well at all, in fact, it was on the brink of divorce. I felt like a complete and utter failure, totally unloved and unlovely. As I sat there on the pew, I was silently telling God what a failure I was at everything. I could never seem to please those that I loved. Not my family, not my employer, not even my spouse, and yes, certainly not a perfect, Holy God. I was wondering what was wrong with me. I felt like I was some kind of dud in the human race. Then I heard God’s voice, audibly. I didn’t completely comprehend what He said to me then, 37 years ago, until just recently. He said to me, “Cyndi, I love you and I want to have a love relationship with you.” I responded to Him by walking to the altar while the preacher was still preaching the last point of his sermon. I don’t know if he planned on having an altar call or not, but he really didn’t have a choice. I stood there, sobbing, in front of 500 people who had never laid eyes on me before, desperately reaching out to the love that God had just offered me. As I prayed the sinner’s prayer, it felt as if a 2 ton weight lifted from my shoulders and I’m pretty sure that my feet never touched the floor when I walked from the building that day. I still remember the exhilarating joy that flooded my entire being. God Himself had spoken as I picked away at the petals of my life’s failures and He declared “He loves me” so it must be true!
Then, as I began to grow as a Christian, I came to learn about faith and works, works and faith and somehow the pure joy of just knowing God’s love got lost in the “working out” of my faith. As I tried and failed, struggled and succeeded at living the Christian life, somehow I thought that my status with God depended on how well I was doing at proving my love for others and for Him according to the commands I saw in His Word and the opinions of others. Pretty soon, I was feeling like a dud in the church and in the eyes of God. I never doubted my salvation because I understood the sacrifice of Christ’s blood was what had saved me but I totally lost sight of the “Why” of Calvary. I forgot it was because “while I was a sinner, Christ died for me” because “He loves me!” I forgot that His love for me has nothing to do with who I am. It’s all because of who He is.
A few weeks ago, I attended a conference and a speaker got up and said “God loves you because He loves you because He loves you because He loves you because He loves you...and on and on she droned but with each “God loves you because He loves you”, it was as if God was peeling off years of the bondage of works and religion from my heart. It finally dawned on me that the intensity of God’s love for me has never changed or wavered, not even for a second. It is and has been the one constant in a life of ups and downs, twists and turns, tragedy and sorrow, failures and successes.
I’m not saying that we can just live anyway we please after we commit our lives to God. God’s grace is free but it is not cheap. It’s not greasy grace. It’s not sloppy agape. There is a life to be lived, battles to be fought, wars to be waged, and changes to be made. What I am saying is that in the battles that are lost and have to be fought again, maybe even every day, God’s love for us is not altered, not even one iota, as my aunt used to say. I have no idea what an “iota” is but I imagine that it is a miniscule amount. So all the time I have spent wondering about God’s eraser and my status in the book based on how much God might be loving me that day because of my performance or success was senseless. His love just is!
As a sinner, God loved me from afar. I’ve come to learn that I determine the distance between me and Him. If I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me. Adam and Eve hid from God, they kept their distance, after they sinned. The stench of their sin did not make God turn around at the gate of the garden. He came as He always had and sought them out as was His custom. They were the ones that ran from Him. No one has ever gone to Hell because God didn’t love them. They went there because they didn’t love Him. God loves every sinner in Hell today.
When I heard His declaration of love, I allowed Him to come in close and all the benefits of being declared worthy, because of the sacrifice of Christ, became mine for the taking, the most important being the Spirit who came to live inside of me and who tells the world, “Hey! She belongs to me. I love her.” It was then that I began to follow after Him, like an innocent lamb nipping at the Shepherd's heels, following wherever He led, eating what He provided, sleeping within His watchful eye, and allowing Him to do whatever He needed to do to keep me close.
So, the bottom line is “He loves me!” HE loves me! He LOVES me! He loves ME!
Before I was born, He loved me.
When I distanced myself from Him, He loved me.
Now that I’ve come in close, He loves me.
When I sin, He loves me.
When I fail, He loves me.
When I succeed, He loves me.
When others approve of me, He loves me.
When others disapprove of me, He loves me.
When I struggle,He loves me.
When I’m mistreated and misunderstood, He loves me.
When I'm discarded and thrown away by those I love, He loves me.
When I’m on the mountain top, He loves me.
When I’m lost in a valley of despair, He loves me.
When I’ve lost everything, He loves me.
When I’ve won a victory, He loves me.
When I’m betrayed by others, He loves me.
When I’m loved by others, He loves me more than they ever could.
When I doubt His love, He loves me.
When I’m tempted, He loves me.
When I question His intentions or ability or motives, He loves me.
When I’m drowning in the storms of life, He loves me.
When I’m anxious, He loves me.
When I know He loves me, He loves me.
When I don’t think that He loves me, He loves me.
When I’m afraid, He loves me.
When I’m brave, He loves me.
When I’m bold, He loves me.
When I’m timid, He loves me.
When I don’t know what to do, He loves me.
When I don’t know how to pray, He loves me.
When I disobey or fail to keep His Word, He loves me.
When I can’t seem to go one more step, He loves me.
When I could run a marathon, He loves me.
When I don’t understand, He loves me.
When I just want to run away, He loves me.
When I look to Him, He loves me.
When I turn away, He loves me.
When I hurt, He loves me.
When I cry, He loves me.
When I laugh, He loves me.
When I”m stuck, He loves me.
When I change, He loves me.
When I see clearly, He loves me.
When I’m blinded, He loves me.
When I’m rebellious, he loves me.
When I’m like putty in His hands, He loves me.
When I want to go to heaven...now, He loves me.
When I want to stay on earth a little longer, He loves me.
When I’m thinking about Him, He loves me.
When He’s far from my thoughts, He loves me.
When I can’t hear His voice, He loves me.
When my ear is tuned to heaven, He loves me.
When I’m sick, He loves me.
When I’m well, He loves me.
When I feel in love with Him, He loves me.
When I feel nothing at all, He loves me.
When I’m just numb, He loves me.
When I reach for Him, He loves me.
When I run from Him, He loves me.
When I displease Him, He loves me.
When I please Him, He loves me.
Every day He loves me.
Every second of every day, He loves me. His love is perfect love, and it never changes, not even one iota...ever.
I finally get it! He loves me and wants to have a love relationship with me. He says the same thing to you!