I have heard it; you have heard it.
Maybe you have heard the phrase coming from the pulpit. Maybe you have heard it one-to-one from a pastor, an elder in your church, a member who has a strong relationship with God.
Have you ever heard it on the street? From a street preacher? From a homeless man who is panhandling money from you?
Yes, God loves you.
And you have to ask why?
What have I done to deserve God’s love?
When you can answer that question, you can begin to “relate” to God.
The answer is you have done nothing. You have done nothing to deserve His love. The value of His love is unmeasurable, and nothing you have can match what you are getting.
“All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” Isiah 64:6. Nothing we can offer God can match what God is giving you.
It is so hard for us to comprehend if we are “of this world.” When Pastor Chan writes “God’s mercy is a free, yet costly, gift.” What makes it free? It has to be. We don’t have anything of value that would pay for it. What makes it costly? Jesus paid for our gift. We did not have to die, Jesus did the dying for us.
When you can “relate” to God, this begins to have real meaning. If you cannot relate to God, it is just so much Christian mumbo jumbo.
Think about when it became clear to you that God loves you.
For me, it was in the lowest point of my life. The absolute lowest. I did not know what to do. I did not know where to go. All I could do was breathe. I literally did not know where to make the next step. I cried out, “God tell me what to do!” And He did.
He knew what I needed to do. I didn’t. If I had done my will, my life would have changed for the worse. But I did His will. He answered my question and I did as He asked. To this day, I am still holding true to what God told me to do.
He knew what I needed to do. He knew how to rebuild my life.
I began to see that He cared for me. He cared more for me than I cared for myself. But as I worked through my pain, I knew I was headed in the right direction. Toward Him.
To this very day, I am still trying to work toward Him.
Pastor Chan opens Chapter Three, Crazy Love with the simple lyrics “Jesus Love Me”
Have you ever looked at this children’s Christian song? Here are the lyrics.
“Jesus loves me! This I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong.
[ Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.]
Jesus loves me! This I know
As He loved so long ago
Taking children on His knee
Saying, “Let them come to Me.”
Jesus loves me still today
Walking with me on my way
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.
Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide
He will wash away my sin
Let His little child come in.
Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way
Thou hast bled and died for me
I will henceforth live for Thee…
The words are simple on face value but they aren’t, are they? When you really look at them and think about them, they become difficult. They reflect the relationship that we can have with Jesus if we accept His love, accept His guidance and try to live a life inspired by His example.
Many in our world get the concept of God. That’s what makes people identify themselves as “Christian.” That’s what causes people to join a church. That’s what causes people to be regular attenders in church and maybe join a Sunday School Class or take a Bible Study.
Some in our world understand the heart of God. They are the ones who have a hunger that never ends, a hunger to live a live directed by God, trusting God to put them in places with people who need their presence. These are people who are willing to be the hands and feet of God, on earth doing His work.
When this type of person says “God loves you” listen…and believe, because they know.