Brennan Manning writes that on judgment day the Lord Jesus will ask only one question: “Did you believe that I loved you?” Kind of turns the table around, doesn’t it….
Not “Did you love me?” Not “How many souls did you save?” Not “Were you successful?” Not “Did everyone speak well of you?” I could list pages of questions I think he might ask. But none would reveal my time on the earth more than the haunting one Manning proposes. How we view God determines everything we do and how we do it.
I have to let that sink in…
Knowing God loves me supersedes my roles, my job, my everything else. It silences all those inner voices that tell me I’m not a good enough wife, a good enough mother, a good enough daughter, friend, teacher…reflector of Christ. As Manning points out, “God loves us as we are, not as we should be, because none of us are as we should be.” So knowing God loves me upends all my inclinations to base my value on what others say, to draw my affirmation from likes, retweets and professor evaluation forms.
Knowing God loves me affects how I view circumstances I might otherwise take for granted. Maybe going away for a week to study and write was more him wanting to be alone with me than me wanting to be with him. Maybe buying that book that stimulated new thoughts or listening to that particular song that brought me to tears was his idea, not mine.
When my daughter was young and I would tell her I loved her, she would sometimes remark, “Well of course you do. You have to, you’re my mother.” What she couldn’t possibly have known at that time was the profound bond a mother feels for her child, a love that extends far beyond responsibility. I could not not have loved her even if I tried.
But I’m afraid I can view God’s love in a similar abstract kind of way… he loves me because he has to, or because I do something good. The amazing blows-my-mind truth, however, is that God loves me because he wants to whether I’m good or bad.
It’s who he is. It’s what he does. Jesus loves me…this I know.
Do you know he loves you?