Thursday, October 7, 2010

Good To Be Loved

It doesn’t matter where I’ve been or how long I’ve been gone, I know something will always be true when I walk through the door at home—I’ll be greeted with joy, excitement, and love. It happens every time, even when I come in from the backyard this happens: unconditional, passionately expressed love. Honestly, it happens so often that I take it for granted and don’t even notice it anymore. But when I do, it makes me feel a little bit good inside. Yeah, the givers of this love are my two dogs and their expressions are wagging tails and panting, dog-smile mouths…but I know they are happy to see me.

The other day, I bumped into an old friend who was back from Guatemala for a few weeks. His family left a few years ago to start a soccer ministry there. I didn’t know they were home so when he walked into my office, the pleasant surprise led to the strongest guy-hug we could muster up. It was great to see him. We wanted to get caught up on things that had happened in each other’s life. That surprise encounter made my day.

There’s something about knowing you’re loved that can change so much. The older I get the more I recognize those simple gestures that communicate “I love you;” “I’m glad to be with you;” “It’s been good to spend time with you.” Perhaps this is true because as more time passes, the more pain, heartache, disappointment, and relational fatigue piles up on our souls. My wife’s hand in mine, a phone call from my kids in college, an e-mail of thanks or encouragement, a guy-hug from an old friend, a cold dog nose nuzzling my knee on the couch—all say, “I love being in your company. You are important to me.”

If expressions of love from spouses, kids, friends, and pets are so important to us, how much more important is it to receive expressions of love from God, the Creator of the Universe? What if God wants me to know, “I love you, Phil. You are very, very important to me. I hope you know that”? Does that change my day? Does that change my perspective on life? Does that change how I treat others?

A couple of years ago, I went through a time of discouragement and fatigue. I, privately, described myself as lonely and tired. A friend and counselor advised me to dig deep into areas of intimacy with God. He told me to begin to read the Bible as if it were a love letter to me from God. During that time, two passages of scripture rocked my emotional foundation. I had been a Christian for 35 years and had been deeply involved in ministry all my adult life. But I needed to be intimately reminded of the most fundamental spiritual truth in the universe—God loves ME. And he desperately wants me to know, understand, and embrace it. Maybe you need to be reminded of that this week. We can’t hear, “I love you” enough, especially from the God of the Universe. Think about these words from scripture today:

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me. Psalm 139.17-18 NLT

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Ephesians 3.17-19 NLT

This week's author- Phil Niekerk, senior small groups pastor

1 comment:

  1. The Psalm 139 passage that you mentioned is also one of my favorites. Back some years ago now I also traveled through a dark time and this passage just hit me square between the eyes. It was as if I had never fully comprehended how "involved" God was in my life. He is constantly thinking about ME? When I am awake and when I sleep!! What a comfort that is!
    Now...when I'm feeling a bit discouraged the 139 passage is right where I head in my Bible. It is particularly meaningful to mothers as it refers specifically to God's connection to us before we are even born. That makes pregnancy a lot easier to "bear". We are carrying one of God's own children!
    Anyone who logs on to this blog should definitely read the entire chapter.
    God Bless!