I was praying recently, struggling with a few things and striving to use the scriptures I share on Facebook for myself. My mind drifted to a scene from the Disney movie Frozen, where the younger sister, Anna, throws herself into harm’s way to protect her older sister, Elsa the Snow Queen, from certain death.
It’s a very moving moment. In a supreme act of selflessness, the wounded sister sacrifices herself for the sibling she loves. It makes me cry every time I watch it. Then I thought about THE supreme act of love: Jesus dying on a cross for me. All of my worries and concerns started to melt away. Jesus loves me. He died for me.
I started to feel better. I calmed down. I could hear Him more readily because I remembered that I am loved. Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth, has my back.
It’s a mind-blowing truth that’s too easily forgotten in the midst of distractions, worry, fear and busyness. That’s why I need to be reminded. FREQUENTLY. Daily. And when I forget to remind myself by staying focused on Him, on what He has written in His word, He will lovingly, faithfully draw me back to this truth: Jesus died for me. His sacrifice is God’s expression of love toward me. He will even use an animated story to get me back on the right thought-track.
I think most of us enjoy hearing about everyday heroes who lay their lives on the line for others: military men and women who sacrifice themselves for the sake of their country and their comrades. First responders who run into danger to rescue people they don’t know. Parents who put themselves into harm’s way to protect their children. That’s why these stories get posted to FB and emailed to hundreds of people; it’s why the hero of the hour is booked on multiple news and TV programs– their sacrifice deeply moves us. It touches our hearts and renews our hope in humanity. But as wonderful as these people are, their heroism doesn’t fix the deep, inexpressible need we all have: to be secure in the knowledge that we are loved no matter what. To know that we have not been left on our own to figure things out or to fend for ourselves. To know with certainty that someone will be there to rescue us when the need arises.
Knowing that you are loved will do that for a person. Knowing that there is someone you can rely upon, no matter what, builds confidence. It engenders trust. Knowing that you are loved unconditionally by the One who is love will transform your life.
It’s the truth you know that will set you free, so be free:
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32
Awesome! Wonderful. Incomprehensible at times, but I humbly and gratefully accept His love. I can’t earn it, I don’t deserve it and I never will.
So what about those times when we have questions and we aren’t sure we want to hear God’s answer? Or when we need direction and don’t think we have the strength (desire, will, ability) to follow His leading and obey?
This too, is possible when you know how much you are loved. God’s love will never fail you. His will for us is formed from and based upon His love, His truth, His wisdom, His holiness and His Kingdom plan. Knowing that God loves me, (and He has shown me over and over again just how much) makes me able to trust Him during difficult and dark times; to relent and repent when I am being stubborn or I’m wrong; to humbly receive His correction; to move forward with His grace when fear tries to make me run away or to stand still in indecision, worried that I might be making a mistake. Knowing that God loves me gives me the security I need to trust that His plan is good, that He is with me every single day. God’s love never fails:
“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out-of-doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].”
“We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-20 Amplified Bible
He did the hard part. He made the first move. We just have to believe it and accept His outstretched hand.