I don’t know of a single person who has never wanted to be loved. I can’t think of anyone that I know who does not want to be loved. Everyone wants to be loved by someone else. Everyone wants to feel special to someone. Children want their parent’s affection; husbands long for their wives to love them deeply; wives long for their husbands to love them deeply…not read their minds.
I recently sat in the Life Today studio and listened to James Robison teach about God’s love for us. James talked about how God wants to love us like a father loves his children, and he pointed us to a verse that I did not know was in the Bible. It was one of those that I had possibly read before, but it did not jump out at me like it did at that moment. I read the passage from John 17:20-23. Take a moment and read this passage.
The Fathers Love
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23 NIV
Do you see the depth of the Father’s love? Right there in the last sentence: “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” In this sentence Jesus makes the statement that God loves us as much as he loves Jesus. It’s a declarative statement. Jesus isn’t asking God to love us in this prayer. He’s not begging. This definitive statement says God has loved all of us “even as you have love me (Jesus).”
Take just a moment to let that sink in. Jesus has just made this statement: God loves us as much as he loves Jesus. Here it is one more time: God loves us as much as he loves Jesus.
The apostle Paul put it this way in his letter to the Ephesian church:
I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19, HCSB)
How Big is God’s Love
How deep is God’s love? Dive down and try to find the bottom. You’ll never reach the bottom of God’s love.
How wide is God’s love? Try going around it. You’ll never find a corner to turn at the end of God’s love.
How high is God’s love? If your rocket-boosted space capsule went straight up after exiting earth’s atmosphere with the proper trajectory, you could never get high enough to get over the top of God’s love.
I have been wrestling with the vastness of God’s love ever since that day. I have been trying to wrap my brain around what all of this means to me. I have been attempting to reconcile my heart to the magnitude of the love of God for someone like me. Here is what I’ve been able to come up with:
Even in my brokenness, God loves me.
Even in my pain, God loves me.
Even in my sin, God loves me.
Even in my suffering, God loves me.
Even in my crushed spirit, God loves me.
Even when I don’t follow him, God loves me.
Even when I don’t trust him, God loves me.
Even when I am in deep despair, God loves me.
Even when I wander far away from him, God loves me.
Even though I don’t understand why he would, God loves me.
When I feel that I don’t measure up, when I have fallen short, when I think that I should be last on the list of people accepted by God I have to come back to this prayer that Jesus gave us. I have to be reminded that God loves me like he loves his only son.
“I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.” (John 15:15, HCSB)
Here is God’s invitation through Jesus: God loves us as much as he loves Jesus. We are no longer outsiders…slaves…servants. But now…now we are called into the inner circle. We are given all of the plans. Every message from God to Jesus is made known.
But you say, “Wait a minute, I don’t know everything! I don’t know how my life is going to turn out, or who will win the World Series this year.” Those things are not included in the message. The message is the Gospel of Jesus. The message is salvation through simple child-like faith. The message is that we are no longer enslaved to fear because we are the children of God. The message is that our God crushed death…owns it. Death went 0-1 against God and there will be no rematch.
The message is an empty tomb, a risen Savior…all because of God’s love for you.
Please know that I write this as a message to myself, first, and to you, second. I write this to remind myself of God’s love for me in the moments when I feel alone, abandoned or crushed. This is not an “I have it all together” kind of message. In my pain and suffering I know of no other place to run to than to the love of God. He has yet to fail me.