"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep
is the love of Christ..."
Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV)
The Love of God...A couple of things this week that have me holding onto that with all my might. The choir is singing a song this Sunday with that title and I'm participating in a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of James. (Actually, today was the last lesson of that study and I only started three weeks ago. But I'm going to lead a few ladies in this study this summer, so I kind of considered this an "audit" the class.)
I've had a few challenges the past ten days or so: really missing mom; dealing with some difficult issues and just in general feeling de-valued. So as I watched the final video in class today I was really wishing I had a warm, fuzzy, hug. And I kinda got one, in a strange, harsh, in-your-face sort of way.
In this study, Beth Moore has taught us a lot about James' life. He was the half-brother of Jesus, you know. And there are a couple of places in Scripture where we find that Jesus family didn't always believe He was who He was (Read John 7). And yet, after His resurrection He appeared to Peter and the twelve, and then 500 others. "And then He appeared to James" (1 Corinthians 15:7).
I can't tell you the whole eight-week Bible study (especially since I've only been to the last three), so you should check it out yourself. But, for this last session we returned to that moment when Jesus appeared to James. In Beth's words,
"Imagine that moment when Jesus came to James.
I wonder if He walked up behind him and said, 'James'.
Or perhaps He said, 'My brother'.
When James turned around and saw Jesus,
what were his thoughts?"
She went on to say that James knew at that moment that when Jesus looked at him, He would see everything he had ever done; every word he had ever said; every thought he had ever thought....
And Jesus loved him.
We all have people we see everyday; people who we are close to that we would say know everything about us. But I would venture to say, there are things in our hearts that no one knows. Because if they did, they would see us differently. They wouldn't really love us, or even like us very much.
It was at that moment that I truly realized that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can be hidden from God. (That was the "harsh" part of the hug.) I know we all know that, but I think we sometimes convince ourselves that we can hide. Because if He knew us... really knew us, He wouldn't love us.
However, God knows it all... and He loves me just the same.
There is nothing I can withhold from Him; nothing I can pretend didn't happen or that I didn't think or feel. He looks at me and sees it all!
But, He sees it all covered by the blood of Jesus.
Here's the warm, fuzzy part of the hug...When all else fails, when people let me down, when I feel unloved...
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16 (NIV)