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 tenth story is by member Christy Adams:
I have been putting off this “writing how you feel loved by Jesus” thing for a while now because I felt a self-imposed pressure to have some miraculous story where God really came through for me so therefore I felt loved. I thought that stuff just didn’t really happen for me- just other people. (I’m sure you know where this is headed…) But I was wrong.
That said, I have a disclaimer on this story- It doesn’t end how you may think. There has been no big mystery solved, no climax peaked, and definitely no questions answered. Hollywood would not make a movie about my story. But I don’t mind.
Jesus loves me, this I know.
Isn’t that the whole point?
To give a little back story, last January, I got sick with a chronic issue that basically causes me a lot of pain- all day, every day. I didn’t do anything about it for a while because I just figured it would go away on its own. But as the spring, then summer, came to a close and nothing was better, I began visiting doctor after doctor who prescribed pill after pill, and method after method. They still can’t really figure out what’s causing my pain, but what’s worse is they can’t make it go away. So here we are, January 2012.
I could tell you my story ended there, and without Jesus, it does. But what a hopeless, endless story that is.
I never thought I’d say this, but I actually feel loved by Jesus because of my pain. And not because I have faith that one day my pain will go away. Or one day I won’t be sick.
I feel loved because, in all this pain, I have seen something tangibly true about Jesus’ character- He will do whatever it takes to get my attention. He is seeking me with reckless abandon. I am seeing that he allows my pain right now so that I can get more of him, and less of Christy. I knew that truth intellectually for a long time, but when suffering comes into the picture, that gets really hard to accept. But today, right now, I am so thankful. I feel loved by Jesus because of this pain.
I feel loved that I can ask for prayer from my friends. I feel loved that Psalm 4:3 is true, that my God hears me! Why would the Savior of the universe listen to little me cry about a little pain?
The only explanation is love.
Some days I wake up and I tell God what I think he should do; that if he really loved me he would make me feel better. But that’s not how his love works. This entire year Jesus has been showing me that his love for me is not revealed in how I perceive my circumstances- good or bad- and that really does include the hard times. He loves me so much that he is willing to do whatever it takes to let me know him more. That said, I’m so thankful for the times he gives me good perspective and reminds me that he is doing a good job here. And I trust him. If I never get better, I am blessed to be his child.
And right now, I feel loved by Him. And I’m so thankful for that.