I am inexorably attracted to people who know how much they are loved by God and they allow this knowledge to change them.
This Spring I will have been a Christian for twenty years. In that time I have met all kinds of believers; the bitter but tenacious, the happy naive, the fearfully upright, and the broken beggars who walk around amazed to be so beloved by the creator of the Universe….
“If we know how great is the love of Jesus for us we will never be afraid to go to Him in all our poverty, all our weakness, all our spiritual wretchedness and infirmity. Indeed, when we understand the true nature of His love for us, we will prefer to come to him poor and helpless. We can be glad of our helplessness when we really believe that His power is made perfect in our infirmity.” ~Thomas Merton
Honestly, I still spend much of my time with my forehead wrinkled up, carrying this weight of worry around with me. Every once in a while I look up and realize how truly ludicrous is this posture.
I “follow” many YWAM bases in various places on the internet, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Yesterday the YWAM base in Honolulu posted that they were just wrapping up a teaching week on Hearing The Voice of God. They asked, “What has God been speaking to you lately?” Just for fun, I responded (Sometimes it’s strange to me to ‘talk’ to organizations when I don’t know the people behind the titles). I said, “Lately, God has mostly been saying, ‘I love you.'”
After posting this response, I started crying. I could almost feel God next to me nodding his head firmly and looking at me with such kindness that even thinking about it right now makes me cry.
There’s this thing I say to my friends when they say unkind things about themselves, “You be nice to my friend.” It’s funny, but I also mean it. What I mean is pretty clear; I would defend a friend against any attacker, including themselves. God says it, too to me. And he’s always so gracious about this.
I read a quote the other day that said, “Remember that people are the least lovable when they need love the most.” (Danny Silk) When I read it, I felt how true it is that even though I was the neediest little girl, as a grown up I sometimes struggle with people when I sense how desperate they are for affirmation.
But God? This is not a struggle for him. He sees deep down into my clingy, broken heart and he still looks at me with that constant gentleness and he persistently says, “I love you, Peggy.”
Oh, I have to respond, I have to be really good. I’ve got to get right up and give this love away.
“Peggy, I love you.”
Thanks. Now I’ve really got to do something abou- “I love you, Peggy.”
I don’t know how to express to you how loved you are by God except to share with you how tenaciously he teaches this to me. In the last year, since I became aware of how often God tells and shows me he loves me, I have not become any holier. I struggle with ambivalence about important issues, I wrestle with petty grievances, I spent several months last year simply hiding from realities that I didn’t know how to deal with. But the whole time, like Chinese water torture, God has been responding to most of my questions with, “I love you.”
Would that we could all know this, we would walk around in a giddy daze of wonder. If you only knew this, beloved, what worry and fear could you let go of? I pray for us now, that God’s deep and unrelenting love would sink down into the ugliest places within us, that we might walk freely in that love.
I firmly believe this is our real job as followers of Jesus, as believers in God; to believe not only who he is and what he did, but to believe that all of that shouts, “I love you!”