I know I have thought all of those things. I have experienced feeling loved, I have experienced feeling the loss of love and feeling like no one would ever love me at all. Love has been a commodity, it has been a bargaining chip and it has been a reward. It has been a wonderful emotional feeling, it has been a let down, it has been an elusive thing to grasp. That is because love has always felt like something I had to work for, that I had to earn, that I had to strive for. And I have always felt like I come up lacking. I was never good enough, I was never smart enough, or pretty enough. I couldn't do enough good to be loved the way I wanted to truly be loved. I could never accomplish enough to deserve a love that would change my life.
I felt that way for years. Even after I came to salvation in Jesus, I felt that I had to do something to make Him love me. I had to pray more, I had to read the bible more or be a nicer person. I heard sermons that said that if I screwed up that God would be so disappointed in me, I had better 'do better' so that He would love me. I felt that I never measured up. I had better be up at the altar every Sunday asking forgiveness again or I just wasn't truly a child of God. But oh, how wrong I was. How can a love that is given freely in the first place ever be earned? How can a Father who would give His only Son to show us that love ever place restrictions on us? He never said be a good person and I will love you. He never said maybe if you work really hard I will show you that you are loved. He, from the beginning had a plan in motion that would open the windows of heaven and would pour out His love on us.
Do you remember a time that you were in a relationship with someone and you truly felt loved? A time when you felt cherished and adored and just always had this big stupid grin on your face because you just felt wonderful? Can you remember looking at your spouse as you were getting married and feeling so amazed that you were chosen to be his or hers? Can you remember looking at your child for the first time and feeling this overwhelming burst of joy that you couldn't even put into words? Roll all of that up into one big ball, add a sprinkle of grace and peace and magnify that by infinity and you may just begin to comprehend how cherished, how treasured you are. He not only loves you to the moon and back, but He loves you to the cross and back.
I think if we truly grasped how much God loves us, our lives would change. Imagine walking through the day knowing someone esteems you. Not just when you do them a favor, not just when you perform well, but every minute of every day. To know that you are foremost in their thoughts. You are thought of with affection and intention. You don't just happen to cross their minds every once in awhile, you are center in their thoughts. You are the cream in their coffee, the icing on their cake. You are the be all and end all. You are all that and more to God. Look at these scriptures to just get a small clue...
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will …” Ephesians 1:4-5
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3
“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love…” Nehemiah 9:17
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. ” 1 John 4:9-11
“In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death or life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Can you remember getting a love letter from someone? Or maybe in these overly tech days, a love text? Just something saying, you are special to me. The whole of the bible, the whole of creation speaks of God's love for us. Those scriptures above are only a tiny portion of verses speaking of His love, His adoration for us.
I challenge you to take time to dig into the Word. I challenge you to take a moment each day and just ponder God and His love. I ask that you really begin to believe that you are cherished, that you are treasured, that you are truly a delight to God. I ask that you start to believe that you are not just like that kid chosen last for the team because well, somebody has to take you; but that you were chosen first and chosen with intention and forethought. That you were not only picked, but you are the star player, that you are the cream of the crop, that you are the apple of His eye. Because you truly are. Now start living like it!