Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How Can He Love Me?

How can He (Jesus Christ) love me?  It seems a simple question which holds a simple answer…He died for me.  We as Christians are trained and equipped to tell the world of God’s marvelous love in that He sent His son to die on a cross for us, save us and give us eternal life.  In fact, one of the first verses that we are taught to memorize as children is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.  This verse is used to negate any debate or question denying God’s love for us.  It is fired off like rounds of ammo to dispel any doubts that may exist in the minds of the saved or unsaved.  Despite its power and truth, many cannot fathom, much less comprehend this.  To be honest, I still find that I awake to days that I struggle with this same questions; how can a God so magnificent, a Savior so pure and a Holy Spirit so gentle love Beth?

It is this very question and debate in my mind that I awoke to a few days ago and that I have struggled with most of my life.  Do I doubt the existence of the Almighty God?  Absolutely not!  I believe in Him more today than I ever have.  Do I know that He loves me?  Emphatically, I can say yes!  I know without a doubt that He loves me.  Then what is the problem?  The problem is that I cannot comprehend this at times.  It doesn’t mean that I am not saved or that I lack in faith; it simply means that I struggle with fully accepting that God can love me this much.  How can this struggle ensue within the mind of a child of God?  That question is not easily answered. 

Even from childhood, I was never in possession of much self-confidence.  I would see others who were confident and charismatic and I always wanted what they had.  Yet, that cost too much…I would have to believe in myself to be as them and I couldn’t pay that price.  So, with a devalued self-efficacy I marched headlong into a marriage that would not only erode, but strip away what little confidence and strength I did possess.  For years, on top of being beaten, I was told that I was ugly, fat, no good, dumb and no one would ever want me and sadly I began to believe all of these things.  I not only believed them in my mind, but I lived these beliefs out in my everyday existence.  The Bible speaks of this very thing in Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”.  NKJV

Broken and desperate I found Christ but I couldn’t lose the negative feelings about myself.  As I stated in my very first post, I believed that God would save me from hell, but I couldn’t fathom Him loving me enough to have a relationship with me.  Nevertheless, little by little and day by day Christ is revealing more of Himself to me as He is performing His healing.  This walk of healing is a process in which He is gently, but ever so persistently displaying His love.  One might ask, why doesn’t He perform the work in one mighty word and I believe and understand His love for me?  I guess the best way I can answer that is relating it to the story of the Israelites.

When God delivered the Israelites from bondage to the Egyptians, His purpose was to take them to the Promised Land where, at the time, the enemy possessed their inheritance.  Nevertheless, their route was not a direct one.  The course was rerouted due to their stubbornness and unbelief, but God also knew that there was something else.  Man has a tendency to not be able to handle, process, or otherwise accept too much of anything in our lives in a healthy way and that includes good things.  When we are abundantly blessed, we tend sometimes to forget the Blessor (if that is a word, lol!).  For example, if our pantry and fridge were forever filled we may become accustomed to that and forget the source of such a blessing.  Yet, when we have to depend upon God daily for food, then we continue to come back to the source for provision often.  We have to learn the art of trusting Him. 

Such was the case with the Israelites in possessing their land and I with healing.  God told the Jews that He would give them the land but it would be done His way.  In Exodus 23:30 He tells them, “little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.”  God prefaced His declaration to give them their inheritance slowly by telling them why in verse 29.  “I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you”.  In other words, they couldn’t handle the abundance that would come to them; they weren’t prepared for such a thing.  Neither was my heart in comprehending His love for me.

Being broken and beaten down with no true understanding of love, the thought of a love so consuming defied the very nature that I had come to know.  Yet, His love has so passionately, gently and persistently pursued me.  My Father knew that I could not absorb at a given moment all the love He possesses for me and He also knew that if I could, I may soon forget it.  So, little by little and day by day He has revealed more of His love towards me and in the same way, I am receiving it.  It has not overwhelmed me, it has drawn me closer to Him.  It has not frightened me, it has allowed me to trust Him more.    

 The ability to accept the love of God is not a perfectly accomplished task, but rather one that is learned through trial and error.  There are days that the voices from the past seem to shout much louder than the voice of God.  It is on these days that when the enemy brings things up against me, I choose to believe them because others have said them.  I exchange the truth for a lie.  Some days, it seems that I don’t feel anything at all.  And then there are the days that His love consumes me and I am given a greater understanding of how much He loves me.  These are the days that I consciously choose to stand upon the truth of His Word, which repeatedly tells me that He loves me because I am His.  Not because of anything I have or haven’t done, just simply because I am a child of the most High God. 

And it is just like my God to time a word for me so appropriately.  It was this same day that doubts were swirling in my mind that I got in my car, turned it on and the radio immediately came on with Beth Moore speaking the words “…you have to live loved.  We can’t show love like God intends us to until we realize that we are divinely loved.”  I was speechless and broke down and cried.  God was letting me know that I have to come to that realization that I am loved, regardless of what I believe or what others have said.  Then and only then can I truly love others.  See, I have been praying for God to allow me to love others as Christ did; to give me my Lord’s heart for the lost and hurting.  Yet, He knows that I struggle with loving myself and thus accepting His love.  God has been working in me, “little by little”, using things along the way to show me His all-consuming love for me and that is being shown as He is revealing His character.  And as a benefit, in teaching me to love myself and accept His divine love, He is also showing me “how” to love others.     

To answer the question, “how can He love me?”, it is simply because that is who He is!  He is a God of love, mercy and compassion.  For Him to do otherwise would be contrary to His nature and His Word.  So, whether it is a little glimpse or a huge event, God continues daily to recondition my heart to know His love, but He leaves me the choice to receive it.  And that I must do by faith, trusting that His love will catch me if I surrender my all to Him.  This is how He can and does love me.    

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