I am a pastor’s wife, and yet sometimes I struggle with believing that God loves me.
Growing up in the clutches of God’s love, I was four years old when I stopped under the slide one day to give my life to Jesus. Since then, He has had a fierce grip on me. My rational brain and verse-laden heart tells me that He loves me. I am convinced that He loves Israel, the world, and the church of which I am a part. However, it’s kind of like standing in a crowd of people, and having the speaker say that he appreciates you…couldn’t have done it without you. Lumped into a group, the gesture is authentic and kind, but less meaningful than when you are singled out and pulled aside by the Important One who is placing His importance on you.
For all of these years, I have been deeply grateful for any ounce of the love of God that He would choose to impart to me. I will take being “one of the crowd” in a heartbeat, for I am desperate for Him, and even that stirs my soul in return love. I am very mindful that a rescue, even in masses, is an incredible gift and I can declare that I am loved. Yet, deep down inside the recesses of my heart, I want to be special.
I’m guessing that most girls do.
We play princess when we are younger, dreaming of a rags to riches story where we are pulled out of the masses to become esteemed and loved by a prince. It isn’t the same when you are loved because of your belonging to a group. I want to be loved for just me. I have heard people say, “If you were the only one on the face of the earth, Jesus would still die for you”. Really? Where does it say that in Scripture? Jesus died because God so loved the WORLD. The reality is that He died so that millions would know Him as their Savior and spend eternity in heaven. We don’t know that Jesus would have died for just one person. Would He love in that way for just me?
This heart-wrestling regarding the love of God for me, has impacted the way that I love. I sometimes struggle, because my love tank feels dry. When I do respond in love, it is often of the generic kind because it is all that I feel I have to offer. My desperate desire for a special love often makes me do things like the disciple John did, clamoring for important positions and looking for ways to promote myself or preserve my image. However, perhaps the shift came for John as he heard these words, just as I did recently.
Jesus said, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you” (John 15:9).
“Yes, Lord. I see that. You love Me. But, you are speaking to your disciples here. Again…a group. Loved for being part of a group. “
“No, Joy. Look again.”
“What does it say? How do I love you?”
“Like the Father loved you.”
And who am I to Him?
“You are His one and only Son. Wait. What?! You love me like that? You love me like a one and only?!
“Yes, Joy, I do. I love you with a special “one-and-only” kind of love. You are my daughter and I love you.”
In that moment, hearing those words from Jesus, I was overwhelmed. A lump caught in my throat and hot tears ran down my cheeks as I realized that it was quite possible that Jesus would have died for just me. The generic became the specific. The love of a group became the love of an individual, and I was completely humbled.
Some criticize John for calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. I just think that he had a good understanding of his identity and wanted to be known in no other way.
As for me? Joy may be the name by which the world has known me, but when you pass me by, know that deep inside I am the “girl whom Jesus loves”…like a one and only.
By Joy at joydombrow.blogspot.com