Thursday, April 24, 2014
He loves me, He loves me not
Last year, as I made a conscious decision to overcome this unbelief in God's love, one of the ways I worked on that was to read books. And I read several good books that were helpful to me, and some of them weren't specifically about God's love, but still addressed that. The one that seemed to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, was The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, followed by the fiction book based on that book, The Prodigal, also by Manning and co-author Greg Garrett.
One of the first books I read last year about God's love, and another that is among the most helpful, is He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobson. As one might guess by the title, it is about God's love. The author has a great approach to it, and I not only enjoyed the book, but found it extremely helpful.
In one of the chapters, he uses the little ditty most of us did as kids with a daisy, "He (or she) loves, he loves me not", as we would pick a petal from the flower. He pointed out that we do that with God, and I had to admit I do.
I got called for an interview..... He loves me
My car broke down..... He loves me not
He answered a prayer..... He loves me
He didn't answer a prayer.... He loves me not
When we start viewing God's love the same way we see a daisy that we rip the petals from to find out if someone we like or love, feels the same way, we are definitely viewing God's love in the wrong way.
The Bible says that it rains on the just and the unjust. So bad things are going to happen to us occasionally. Hopefully not too often, but they are going to happen. Being a Christian doesn't guarantee us a problem-free life, or even happiness.
I have come to a few realizations over the last few months, and though they will not be earth shaking news for the average Christian, it took me almost 45 years to realize how true they are:
1) God is love. Yeah, the Bible says that, but I get it now. Since He IS love, He can't not love. Loving isn't just His nature. Love is what He is.
2) There is nothing I can do to cause God to love me any more, or any less. This one was a biggie. I still can't wrap my mind completely around it, and maybe I never will, but I have come to believe it and remind myself of it often.
3) God's love is unchanging. We as humans tend to look at things like God's love through our human eyes. Our love changes. We have people who are friends, and they may betray us or just grow apart and soon they are a distant memory, or a bad memory. We may walk away from God, ignore Him, and live for the devil, but He will still love us the same.
4) Two names: Peter and Judas. I was reminded anew over the Easter season, especially while attending a Passion Play, of Judas and Peter. If one really things about it - and I have - Jesus washed the feet of Judas, the disciple He knew would betray Him. He washed the feet of Peter, the disciple He knew would deny Him. And He did it with love.
I have done both with actions and the way I have lived - betrayed and denied Jesus. The devil had me convinced for years that God could not love me, nor completely forgive me.....but he lied.
With the daisy, the outcome is never sure, and can change from one flower to another. And if you think about it, it is rather silly to base how someone may or may not feel about you, on ripping petals off of a flower.
But not as silly as doing that about God's love. There is no "He loves me not" with God. Only "He loves me!"