Wednesday, August 22nd
Read: 1 John 4: 7-12
Remember: “The way I (Rebekah) see it, we are never too old to ask for a greater measure of love. The more I received His love, the more I wanted to love others. We cannot offer what we do not have.”
In my late twenties and early thirties, I was wrestling in my faith. Life circumstances and various disappointments, past and present, had caused me to question God's love for me. I had a daily walk with the Lord, and I wanted others to know Jesus as Savior, but I could not explain the void I felt within me. In this wrestling, I would say things like, "God, there's got to be something more in this relationship. What am I missing?", and also, "God, show me You love me. I know You love the whole world, but I need to know that You love me." Well, God heard the cries of my heart, and He answered me in this intimate and intentional way:
One cold, mid-winter day when I was about 30 years old, I was running on my treadmill at home. While I was looking out my bedroom window at a snow-covered bush, a redbird (cardinal) flew down and perched on top of it. I said a simple statement to myself, "Lord, I love that picture; it reminds me of how You turn our crimson red sin into something white as snow. Only You can make that impossible transformation happen." After that, I thought nothing of it. A few days later, I was back on the treadmill, looking out my bedroom window again. I thought to myself and half-prayed, "Lord, I sure would love to see that redbird again." Within a few seconds, not only was there one redbird, but two landed right there in front of me. I laughed out loud... with joy. Coincidence? I don't believe so. In that moment, God heard me, God answered me, God loved me. Crazily, He let the redbirds fly for months and even years afterwards at just the right time to remind me of His intentional love. (Actually, 20 years later, they still fly my direction. See the picture below from the other morning while I was in my laundry room.) This one incident with the redbird is what God used to change my faith walk forever. I look at it as my "Saul/Paul" experience. Before, I felt like I was running on a treadmill that was turned off, trudging along with the good and true Christian statement, "I love God, I love God, I love God." But after He opened my eyes, it was like the treadmill flipped on, and I began running with an inexplicable energy from within, shouting, "God loves me! God loves me! God loves me!". This intentional intimate love is now what fuels my strong desire to tell the world, starting with my family, about Jesus, who He is, and why He came. Indeed, He does love the world! And yes, I know that I know that I know, He does love me.
The ultimate point of today’s lesson is that we must fully and personally experience God’s love for us before we can truly give love to others. As simple as this sounds, it can be incredibly difficult to experience. Do you truly believe that God loves YOU? Let’s ask Him to feel our hearts with the transforming power of that knowledge by writing and/or reciting out loud John 3:16. However, replace every “world,” and “whosoever,” with your name.
Dear Lord God,
The deepest longing of our hearts is to know that we are loved by You. Please Lord Jesus, unveil our eyes to see and unclog our ears to hear the message of the gospel: "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). I ask that You touch each Soul Sister's heart today with Your intimate love somehow, someway, whether it's through a song on the radio, or a verse in their quiet time, or something heaven sent in Your creation. Speak loud and clear, O God. Then, cause each heart to rejoice in Your love, sharing with others about Your sweet intentional ways. In Your Name. Amen