“God Loves You as Much as HE Loves Jesus.”- Pastor Dan
Sundays are my favorite day of the week for so many reasons, but mainly because I always feel changed by GOD after I leave church. It’s like HE keeps rubbing off all my rough spots, even the ones I didn’t know I had. This Sunday was no exception. In the last five minutes of the sermon it was like the anvil dropped, and my eyes were shifted to see things in a new light. As Pastor Dan said, “prepare to have your mind blown,” he continued with, “God loves you as much as HE loves Jesus.” This caught me so off guard I almost choked and wasn’t even sure I heard it right. How could the creator of world, the GOD of the universe, love me as much as HIS Son, Jesus, who came as man and sacrificed all in the name of HIS Father, Jesus who sits at the right hand of GOD? This wonderful Jesus who purchased my soul for GOD must be leaps and bounds ahead of me in the love department. To be completely honest, I just feel lucky to even be in the conversation, but HIS loving me as much as HE loves Jesus- just kept throwing my mind for loops. I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time believing this, so I decided to listen to the sermon again and make sure I heard everything right. As I listened, I realized that this sermon was about loving other people, but it had a really big underlying tone that was a hard pill for me swallow. Even though Pastor Dan clearly was speaking about what Christ-like love looks like as we love other people, the key variable to the equation was our being wrapped up in ourselves, not in others. To show love to other people, you have to be absolutely certain that GOD loves you. (Pastor Dan) This was the gap I needed to bridge. If I didn’t believe without a shadow of a doubt that GOD loved me as much as JESUS, then I could not love anyone the way HE needed me to love them. As my mind spun, it was so surreal to think about. I felt lost in understanding, like I was walking around with an open wound. I had no choice; I had to go down this path that I feared and see where GOD would lead me. The answers astounded me.
I always attributed love to the people who take care of you, the people who don’t leave you, the people who protect you and the people who expect nothing in return. We as humans tend to keep people around us that give us the love we need. In my case, I needed a partner in life that would protect me because I never felt very protected. My husband, a former Marine trained to protect people and die for them if needed, was exactly what I was looking for at my very young age and he still is over a decade later. I’m sure many of us have similar stories of how the people around us fill in those love gaps that we have. For a long time, I thought God was just that, a fill-in-the-gap-make-me-feel-better kind of love. As I prayed for understanding these past few days, I felt GOD revealed the truth about HIS love. I know that Jesus loves us so much that HE would die a painful death just so we could be with HIM in eternity. Somehow in my head that fell under protection or unselfish love. It took me days of praying to see the light of how GOD/Jesus’ love is separate from human love. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. They are both fruit but completely different. Apples are the easy, get straight to it, bite right-in GOD love. Oranges, however, are the human sides with layers and work to be done to get to the desired middle. When Pastor Dan proclaims that GOD loves me as much as HE loves HIS own son Jesus; I know that it’s straight, easy love. I don’t have to do anything to receive it; it’s there for the taking. It’s incredible, and more-than-I-thought-and-can-even-understand kind of love. It is there with no strings attached. If I do not trust that GOD loves me as much as HIS own Son, then I’m saying the creator of the universe might not be right which I cannot do because HE is GOD. HE says “I am the I am,” (Exodus 3:14) and I need to trust that HIS love for me is beyond my ability to comprehend and it just “is.” Even though it’s hard to believe, even though I cannot fathom that I would be good enough; I must keep telling myself I am loved as much as Jesus, till I have no doubt. For just because I do not understand or do not believe, does not make it any less true. It is only when I see GOD’s love is more than I can comprehend, that I can love others as HE has loved me. It’s then that I understand true everlasting love. The world is full of broken people who do not believe they deserve love or believe they only deserve enough to fill the gap, like I did. It is our mission to show people that they are loved with the whole-hearted love of GOD just as the Father has for HIS own SON. As hard as these past few days were for me to work through this, I believe that it’s just GOD’s way of rubbing off our rough spots so that we can be closer to HIM and HIS light can shine greater through us. God has this crazy love for us that is unexplainable. It’s only through our love for one another that we can even come close to it. I know there is purpose in my journey and when HE puts someone in front of me who does not think he deserves love, I can tell him, I have been in that hole, Friend, and I know the way out. It is then that I can emulate HIS true love and fully fulfill HIS commandments. We must believe in all the facets of love before we can love anyone else. This Sunday, I had my path turned, and my eyes were shifted closer to HIM and I was changed. That’s why Sundays are always my favorite days.