It underlies most every struggle. The struggle to trust, to forgive, to love. The struggle to work hard and be honest and learn to rest.
It’s the one question we all ask, and the answer is the one thing of any value that we can give to each other.
“Am I loved?”
When we listen for it, we hear the question lurking beneath most interactions.
- I finally find the courage to ask for help only to hear, through the hesitation in her voice, “I have to think about whether you’re worth 90 seconds of my time.” (. . . which, as it turns out, wasn’t at all what she was thinking!)
- I struggle to forgive the loss of a possession though I would have put that same value in the Sunday offering plate without a second thought. I can’t understand my struggle until I realize I believe that my things matter little to her because I matter little. I step back and hear God speak again the words, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give [my Son] in exchange for you. . .” Then it becomes easier to separate the small worth of the item from my own deep value. Then I can forgive the one who also needs to hear that she, and our friendship, are much more precious to me than a few $20 bills.
- Right back in the garden, wasn’t this the hiss of doubt that led to our fall into sin? “God’s holding back his best. He doesn’t really love you. . . .”
So when someone responds to my timid question, “Do you have time?” with the smiling, grace-filled “I have all the time you need” I hear beneath it the words that make me whole, “You are precious. You are loved. I value you enough to invest in you.” Perhaps it’s in these small love-gifts clothed in the concreteness of minutes and smiles and a helping hand that we become most like our God who loves with flesh and time and an open heart and table.
And maybe, too, this is the reason for the long sleepless hours when God doesn’t give any new insight and we don’t accomplish anything but are just quiet together. Maybe when he seems not to answer prayers for insight or energy or success He is instead whispering the answer to our deeper cry, “Do you love me?” In the silence of inefficient togetherness He wordlessly declares us precious, speaks His delight in just being with us, quiet and at rest in each other’s love.
I walk down the lane where He has rolled out beneath my feet a leafy red carpet, and then a gold one, and settle a little deeper into this love that makes us great, listening again to the refrain that He sings over each of us, the one that He spends patient years teaching us to hear and trust, “. . . You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4)
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Thank you for reminding us that God sings Isaiah 43:4 over us and within us.When I was baptised these words were given to me, I had not previously heard them, they were God inspired through the person who spoke them over me. So amazing, these are still the most precious words, for they hold me, they are the glue that help me stick to God when all else fails.They are also the words I can give freely to other wounded souls when they enter my place of work and are in need of a kind and loving word. Being next to the many hospitals here, many who come through the door are weary travellers in the midst of a storm, and God has placed me there to be a little light to shine, even as my little light has trouble to keep shing at times. Indeed, to trust, to love and to forgive—- and to keep turning, ever turning to the ONE who sings these words over us.Come Lord Jesus, may the perfume of Your love, be there wherever I go, be passed to whomever I meet today.
Thank you so much for sharing this bit of your story, Klara. It is a deep privilege we are given, isn’t it, to share the hope of God’s love with fellow travellers who, like us, need to hear – and keep hearing – the truth. Grace to you as you keep living more deeply into the wonder of being loved.
Grace to you as you keep sharing the heartbeat of God’s word in the midst of a perplexing world. We all need to be soaked in knowing God’s love for us– and in the abiltiy to pass on His grace to others.
His love sustains us and we are privedledged to share it with all who need to hear His truth.
Interesting timing again! I was just acutely aware of this question again this weekend. We had a great time in Kelowna at a retreat place, there were gifts all around, but I still had some trouble receiving them as gifts and as signs of love.
Thanks for sharing this, Bonita. I think we keep coming up against this question at deeper and deeper levels – maybe for our whole lives? Certainly for all of mine so far. The lovely thing I’m discovering is that each place of struggle can become another place for God to show us His love as He patiently meets us there and leads us a little deeper. I’m so grateful that He doesn’t get frustrated with our need to keep hearing – and seeing – again and again how loved we are! Praying for you in your journey. He will continue to do what only He can do. . .
Grace to you, Carolyn