Discovering a new dimension of love
This week's guest post is from the lovely Jen of Yub Nub Cafe. Jen's writing is beautiful and so full of deep faith, I've re-read this post at least half a dozen times since she sent me this draft; each time, something new spoke to my heart.
I hope her words inspire you too.
Sometimes, friend, I get overwhelmed with a need to study the Bible. Not to be misunderstood, we should be passionate students of God’s Word, praying sincerely for the Spirit to be our teacher.
There is a desperate need for believers to know the truth about Christ in a world that is increasingly watering the gospel to nothingness, fading the brilliance of what he has done for us. However, personally, I have tended to burden myself with heavy theology, striving to know all the right things about Jesus, while not focusing on a very important part of who Jesus is.
He loves me.
The beautiful, holy, Creator and Rescuer of everything, loves me.
In my grasping search for the right theology, I’ve been distracted from the simple truth of my Father’s encompassing affection. It’s a subtle tactic of our enemy, to get us to put our focus on anything other than who Jesus Christ really is, even if it’s simply leaving out one part of a whole truth.
All of a sudden, we can find ourselves thinking we believe the gospel message, but doubting God’s unfailing loving-kindness for us; all the while nodding, smiling and knowing that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
The Bible tells us that God, Himself, is love. To know love is to know God, and to know God is to know love. If we get one of these wrong, we have them both wrong (1 John 4:7-8).
As I was declaring God’s eternal love for us to others, I unknowingly slipped into ignoring the belief that God did, indeed, love me. When I finally realized this, it was already too late. Doubting my Father’s love for me had already affected my thinking and my actions! This one thing affects our homes, our churches, our workplaces, our campuses, and on.
One quiet afternoon I felt led to put my Bible away, and instead of reading what Scripture said about God’s love for me, I decided to examine my own heart to see if I already knew what Scripture said about it, and meditate on it.
At first, I felt dry and empty, and with tears, I dared ask the Lord to show me his love for me. As soon as I uttered that plea, 1 John 4:9-10 came to my mind,
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
I wept. The One who laid the foundations of the universe had already showed me the depths, heights, breadths and widths of his affection for me. He put his passionate, never-failing, generous love on display in a way that will be known for all eternity.
On a Cross, bearing the wrath due to all mankind, he chose to be my sin offering over losing me. To be more individual about his personal love for me, Jen, Psalm 139 came to mind,
“For you formed me in my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
Friend, does your heart know that God’s work is wonderful? Do you believe that our Creative God creates for no reason at all, or do you know that everything his hands have made he has made with purposeful intentions?
Remember God’s very particular love for you, as you are his wonderful work. And if your microscopic, unformed substance was seen and known by him, how much more is your formed and living substance known by him. He has had record of everyday of your life before you began your first one.
In his 25th resolution, Jonathon Edwards’ wrote,
“Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.”
Dear reading friend, join me in a discipline of heart; to remember this love, every moment of everyday. Like he told his disciples the night he was taken to die, remember.
If his magnificent love is displayed in his magnificent sacrifice, then every time we draw breath, gather with the saints, break bread, take the fruit of the vine, let’s remember his broken body and poured our blood. Let’s remember, remember, remember his deep love for us individually, and together.
Be vigilant to the Enemy’s subtle attempts to get us to doubt this truth. In the assurance of his love, displayed magnificently in the sacrifice of his Son, we know no fear.
Dry seasons, tragedy’s grief, rebellion and complacency melt away in the fervent kindness of our loving Abba God. In this encompassing, strong love, we can even take the martyrs burning stake with absolute joy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jen is an adventurer-at-heart, currently residing in the Midwest U.S., and traipsing the exhilarating and perilous story of living in the grace of God. She serves as sidekick to her adventurer husband, shepherdess of two toddler-girl hearts, and head mistress of The Wheelburrow. A lover of books, tea, fellowshipping over broken bread, and the resurrection story, she is striving to overcome anything that slanders God’s fervent affection for her in Christ Jesus. When she is off-duty, you can find her scribbling her journeys, over a cup of Kurdish Chai tea, at the Yub Nub Café.