I can’t sit down for a moment without my little granddaughter coming to me with a picture book in her hand.
It never occurs to her that I might have better things to do, or that I might be tired, or thinking about something important. She just assumes I’m there to read to her, and that I’m as interested as she is in the dog who is bigger than a house, or the cat that wears boots and a plumed hat, or the elephant who learns he can fly. I am sitting there purely for her pleasure, and she takes my availability as her right, every time.
I love that.
And of course I read to her. I don’t care about the content of the book. I just love the feel of her little body nestled in beside me, the smell of her hair after a day’s play in the sun, the feel of her breath on my cheek, the look of concentration in her eye as she digests the fact that the elephant’s mother has to stay in the prison car because she tried to protect her baby. The look of the dimples on her fingers as she finally turns the page almost brings tears to my eyes, and the way she pronounces the word “park” makes me smile behind my hand.
I could go on and on.
Today I got an e-mail message from a friend. She said,
I’ve loved God since the day I was born, and accepted him as my savior at nine years old. I will always love God, but, I have a really hard time believing that he loves me. My Grandma used to tell me that God loves everyone but me. Of course I believed her and it still sticks.
My heart aches for her. I can only imagine how much God’s heart aches. He longs to take her in His arms and comfort her. I’m praying He will do just that.
Does God love her? The very ache in her heart is proof that He does. It's the pull of his arms on her spirit. His death on the cross, and the place He's preparing in heaven for her, everything points to the fact that He loves her.
He loves every one of us.
So why is it hard to believe? Even for those of us who have walked with Him for years, received blessing upon blessing from His hand? It's certainly not for lack of evidence, even when hard things have come into our lives.
I believe it's often the Devil who gets in the way of the feeling we are loved by God. He hates that God loves us. He hates for us to believe it. Because believing God loves us, completely, unconditionally, and freely because of Jesus' death on the cross, empowers us. When we are able to rest in God's love, we are free to live in the light of eternity. We are able to bring God's Kingdom to the people who live around us. That kind of freedom and power scares the Devil. He will do everything in his power to keep us from having it.
God's heart swells with joy when we run to his arms, jump up onto his lap, and put our arms around His neck. He loves when we take his face in our hands, look Him in the eye, and say, “You have to love me. You promised.” Such "great faith" is a delight to Him, and He responds to it eagerly with answers to our prayers, and blessings in our lives.
We can take His love for granted. It is constant, unchanging, unfailing, unconditional. If we take hold of it by faith, because Jesus' death has cancelled anything in our lives that might separate us from Him, we can experience the joy and security He longs for us to know.
In countless ways.