When I was dating my wife I did not feel very loveable. True story. I just could not get over the fact that this woman could actually love me. Why would she? Especially if she really knew me. This became a subject of conversation during one of our premarital sessions we had with our pastor. I distinctly remember him saying to me, “Albert, you just need to believe that she loves you. You need to believe when she tells you she loves you.” Over the years his advice has proved invaluable. I just believed her. At first, it was just a choice I made. I may not feel it, but I believe her. Over the years, I have experienced and reveled in her love. I have grown in the security and constancy of her love and as a result my love has grown greater. That one piece of advice has helped us weather the ups-and-downs of life and drawn us deeper.
I tell you this story because I want you to simply believe that God loves you. I know that we may not feel loveable or may not even feel loved. It may seem like all the external “evidence” in our lives – all the trials, all the worry, all the circumstances – does not look like God loving us. I can only tell you that we simply have to believe Him. I am not trying to be flippant and say, “Smile, God loves you.” I’m not trying to be naive, patronizing or simplistic. I know that life can be hard. But there has to be a rock bottom truth and through my 54 years of life and 26+ years of marriage, that truth is that God loves me, has loved me and will continue to love regardless of how my life looks at the moment. And when I sink into despondency, this is the only truth, the only thought or reality that can pull me out. It is something we need to nurture and cultivate. We actually need to keep reminding ourselves of this. And as we do it sinks deeper into our hearts. It becomes more comfortable, more secure. We begin to doubt less and celebrate more.
Sometimes, when I lie in my bed next to my sleeping wife, I think to myself, “What a blessed man I am,” simply because I believed that she loved me. Sometimes, when I sit in my chair and think about God loving me, I am overcome and say to myself, “What an incredibly blessed man I am,” simply because I believed what He said.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
He still says that to us today.