Day 2: July 8, 2017
I thought I already knew that God loves me, I mean really loves me. I grew up singing “Jesus, loves me, this I know,” but in my teens and early twenties, I followed after things that could never satisfy and was met with a lot of shame. But God — He won me back and reminded me to Whom I belong and how precious and dearly loved I am (see Isaiah 43:1, 4). Yet, I struggled to prove myself. Relating so often to Martha, I would (and still sometimes do) equate my work and productivity to my sense of self-worth. No, God reminded me, that’s not it. I want your heart more than your hands (see Hosea 6:6).
So, I thought I knew by now that God loved me. And when my oldest son was diagnosed with brain cancer, I believed still. Two years later, when more spots showed up on his brain, I was shaken. I wanted to believe God loved me, but how could He in all this? It didn’t make sense. Despite the confusion, anger and many tears, I proclaimed that yes, I don’t understand it, but God is still good. Does that also make Him loving? I didn’t even know that I was truly questioning that in my heart until recently when I read somebody’s status on Facebook. (Oh, the joys of social media – both good and bad!) In response to a tragedy in someone else’s life, this person had commented how grateful they were for their family and how much God has blessed them. Those are good things, and it is good to be grateful. When something happens to a child, people often say, I have said, “I’m going to hug my kids a little tighter tonight”—you know, sad that it happened but glad that it wasn’t your child. But now, it is my child that has the sad, heartbreaking story. And I wonder, because suffering and heartache has made their home in our lives, does that mean God loves us less? Are we less blessed because we suffer?
As I typed those last words, this passage of scripture came to my mind:
Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus or Lord.
Romans 8:35, 37-39 CSB
My pain doesn’t negate God’s love for me. Oh, how I wish in our American churches that we would stop believing that comfort alone equals the blessings of God. Because I am learning, despite how I feel, that not even cancer, can take away His steadfast love for me. No amount of anguish or plan of Satan can stop His faithfulness. His promises are true. Yes, Jesus loves me!
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.
Jeremiah 31:3 CSB (emphasis mine)