Our fear that God doesn’t love us is rooted in a belief that we’re unlovable, an absurd lie nourished by frightening self-awareness. In other words, we know ourselves too well to believe that God, who supposedly knows everything, could possibly love us. How could God love us? Especially if He truly knows what we’ve done/who we are/how we think/what we said/what we imagine. The conundrum is apparent yet wrapped in surprising grace. God does know us and God does love us. He loves us because it’s who He is. We’ve grown accustomed to authority figures disappointing us, blowing their integrity out of the water, shouting obscenities at an already hurting world. Why would we trust God? Been burned too many times. The innocence of childhood is left behind with the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and Superman. God was our hero until we found out it was mom who put the quarter under our pillow, dad who nibbled on the carrots like a rabbit, and nothing more than trendy superhero wallpaper. The fact that I was Superman for Halloween 1984 should’ve tipped me off that maybe neither of us are all that powerful.
Cynicism is a shell with a snug fit and a hard exterior. It does its job of repelling goodness and hiding our fragility. Cynicism is a built in “nope.”
God loves me? Preposterous. I either assume 1) I’m not lovable or 2) I don’t need it. Neither are true. Indeed we are lovable, otherwise we wouldn’t exist, nor still exist. And I do need love, specifically God’s love, in order to be ok. That’s the hard part, because pride only works if the facade of self-stability keeps intact. Those aren’t bolts holding the scaffolding together. It’s old gum.
God loves me like this: even when I didn’t deserve it, even when I claimed I was a victim to culture, even when I threw Him under the bus by blaming God for what He did or didn’t do, He reached out for me and died for me. His is not merely an emotional love that can rise and fall like a preference for certain flavors or bands. His love is not merely an act of the will, as in “well, I guess I should love them, because, after all…” No. His love is who He is.
One writer says that God is compassionate, but He is not compassion. God is kind, but He is not kindness. God is merciful, but He is not mercy. Yet… yet… God is love, and God does love. You. Me. Us. The world. Enough to die for it.
God loves me enough to keep gently leaning in as I resist His love, arms folded, too _____ to respond.
God loves me enough to watch as I forget about Him, ready to jump in at a moment’s notice.
God loves me enough to let me sleep while He runs the world. And while I’m awake, too.
God loves me enough that when I sin, He is patient in His holiness, calling me out by conviction and compassion.
God loves me enough to send Jesus, His Son, my friend, who died for me.
God loves me enough to let me doubt His love, to which He says “I do anyway.”