In a sermon from Luke 7:36-50 by Matt Adair a few weeks ago, he made this statement:
‘The greatest power to set you free from the addictions, afflictions and assorted troubles of this world is the felt love of Jesus.”
I think we can all say we know the difference between believing we are loved and then feeling loved by someone. We have asked members of our church to share stories of a time when they really felt loved by Jesus. There is so much power in the stories of believers, so we hope you are encouraged by these.
Our sixth story is by member Katuschka Rakovec:
On or around my 20th birthday, I decided I wanted to go on a date. That’s not normally something a girl gets to decide but it is when your date is Jesus. He’s always available and He always wants to spend time with you, both key to going on a date. So I got dressed and I headed to the old Jit Joe’s at 5 Points. I prayed my whole way there asking Jesus to show up. I had no clue what ‘show up’ meant but I really needed Him to. When I got there, I bought a coke and sat down at a corner table with my journal. I’m just going to be honest, the first few minutes were really awkward. It was like this ‘okay now what- oh right, my date is invisible’ realization. Sometimes I don’t think things all the way through. And in this instance, I had no plan for what I was going to do on my actual date once I got there.
But I was committed to this date thing. So I acted like I would on a first date with any stranger: I started talking. I decided I’d tell Jesus about me and ask Him about Him. I decided to go first since up to this point, Jesus was being the more strong, silent, listening type. I started talking (well actually, journaling). I imagined that as I wrote, I was really just talking to Jesus, who was sitting across the tiny table from me. I told Him all kinds of stuff. And in my heart, I knew He was interested. Amazing how when you know someone cares, it makes you feel like you matter. You start saying stuff you hadn’t planned on saying. Feeling loved has a way of disarming me. And Jesus really has a knack for doing that if I let Him (and even when I don’t).
An hour later, I realized that I was still talking to Jesus. He was captivated by me. And I by Him. I laughed a lot (weird when there’s not technically anyone sitting at the table with you). I started crying at one point. Okay a couple of points. And I was really honest with Him. And I’m not sure why but I told Him every reason I could think of why He should leave, why being my friend was a bad idea, why being here was a waste of His time, why He should definitely not go on a second date with me, and why I was so fearful and insecure (you know, lighthearted first date topics). I told Jesus everything that was wrong with me down to the nitty gritty. I don’t remember what all I said. All I do remember is that He was still there. Jesus never left. I was gut level honest about everything and not only did He not get up and walk away, I felt like He loved me. It was like I could see Jesus looking at me, with so much love and the kindest eyes I could ever imagine. He was beautiful to look at and beautiful to be around. It was such a sweet feeling. He didn’t leave me and more than that, I felt like Jesus was really glad to be there. I was really glad to be there, too. With someone who had every single reason on this earth and beyond to walk out but who chose to stay. I even told Him that I’m real quick to get disheartened and real quick to be unfaithful. He just sat there. And the more I tried to dissuade Him from being with me, the more persistent I felt like His love became. It was the most secure I might have ever felt. And maybe the most loved. Getting in my car to leave, I radiated joy. Literally, I was beaming. His love had changed me. Being near Jesus had changed me, if even just for those moments.
I’ll never ever forget that day. The Jesus I experienced in those few hours at Jit Joe’s is the same Jesus that keeps drawing me back to Him in the countless other moments of my life when I feel anything but His love. Because the moments that I do feel Him and His love, gosh those are good. Good and life-giving. And sustaining. They are by far my sweetest moments I’ve experienced on this earth. Nothing even compares.