I wrote an email this morning to a friend. I asked her permission to share it with you. I hope you’ll take the time to read it. As usual, the names and details are changed to protect confidentiality but the story is true. God does love you. I write these for the Branches newsletter (www.branchesrecoverycenter.com) but not everyone on the internet gets the newsletter. Go figure…
It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and both of us should be asleep. I know I’m not and I’m guessing you may not be either. Instead I’m sitting on the couch watching the lightning flash and thinking about how much God loves us. Not us as in “He’s got the whole world in His hands” but us as in me and you, specifically, by name, in person you there and me here, He loves us.
I had a typical day today. I saw a woman who is so depressed she can hardly get her head off the pillow. The I saw a young professional man whose sexual sin has become so hideous that he has lost his family and pretty much everything he holds dear. I saw a guy that is wracked with the guilt and shame. Next I saw Doris for lunch. (She’s not crazy I just saw her for lunch and it was great). I finished the afternoon by sitting with a couple that is watching their love for each other disintegrate over a struggle to understand intimacy. And then a beautiful, Godly, really neat woman who has spent her whole life trying to perform just right to please a God that she thinks is unpleasable and sees her as a miserable failure.
You know what? I only have one message for each one of them. God loves them. Not as a group, or in a general sense. I mean He knows each one of them by name and He knows their story and He loves them with this incredible, undying, everlasting love. He really loves them. and if somehow I could just help them see that everyone of their situations would be a thousand times better. Oh, they would still have stuff. They might still need medicine, and have more bills than paycheck. They might even still get divorces and struggle with sin. But they would know that God loves them for who they are, that He’s crazy about them and He wants more than anything to help them get things on the right track and to find a peace that, well, that is beyond understanding.
If I could only help them see that but heck, half the time I forget it myself. It is such a simple concept. And most of us know it in our heads. A lot of us even believe it in our hearts…for everybody else. But not for ourselves. “For God so loved the world” is really not about the world at all. It’s about me. And its about you. Its about a huge, magnificent, incredible God, calling my name and saying, “Hey, you with the too big nose and thinning hair, I am absolutely crazy about you. I think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I really do love you.”
No wonder Paul said, “I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in God’s love, might have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is for you. and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Even Paul knew that you and me would have a hard time really getting it. God loves us.
When I was in my darkest days I had a cd that I used to play a thousand times a day. Actually just one song, over and over and over again. It was my sister singing, “God loves you,and He wants you to know, He is with you. You are not alone. He will see you through. God loves you.” I love to hear my sister sing. I still listen to it a couple of times a week. That is the lesson if we all could get, well, we’d be okay. And tonight, at 2 o’clock in the morning it is the lesson just for you. He loves you. Not because He’s God and He’s supposed to but because you are you and He wants to. Now go to bed and get some sleep. You’re hard to love when you’re cranky. Mike