I NEEDED A SIGN – LITERALLY!
We’ve all had them. We’ve all had days when nothing feels quite right. The sun is shining, but personal clouds abound. It’s not that there’s any identifiable problem, worry, or fear…we just feel, well, kind of messed up, off-kilter, on edge, out-of-sorts. Those are the days when the dumbest things can just about drive us crazy. Silly things like a favorite pair of jeans fitting a little too snug, misplaced reading glasses, spilled milk at the breakfast table, or an ungracious child can agitate us to the point of distraction. Those are also the days when we feel unable to appreciate the sweet and lovely stuff of daily life…like a soft, warm sweater, the scent of our favorite body lotion, a comic strip in the newspaper that always makes us laugh, or a good job that pays the bills. Those days are so frustrating…we’re caught in some malaise and we can’t quite put our finger on why.
A couple of months ago I was having one of those days. I was in Norfolk, shopping for mundane things like shampoo, dental floss, laundry detergent, and groceries. I don’t mind a day of doing those things and nothing bad happened. None of my coupons had expired…the checkout lanes weren’t awful…the weather wasn’t inclement…I didn’t forget anything I really needed…everything was fine. Everything but me…I just felt, well, I felt…grumpy. Now mind you, I am a glass half-full kind of person. Not only that, it’s a lovely glass…clean and shiny…and whatever is in it is always just what I need…diet soda, cold water, tea with lemon. That’s just how I’m wired. But on that day my glass just seemed to be drained dry. (If that gives those of you who are glass half-empty types some sort of satisfaction, it’s okay…especially if your glass is always chipped, or perpetually cracked and leaking.) There was no explanation for how I was feeling. As I started the drive home, I was trying to pray it through, but even that seemed like an exercise in futility…I had nothing. Then, as I was driving through Pierce, I noticed a sign someone had placed on their front lawn. It simply said, “God loves you.”
God loves you. GOD loves you. God LOVES you. God loves YOU! GOD LOVES YOU! GOD LOVES YOU! GOD LOVES YOU!! GOD LOVES YOU!!! I could not stop thinking about those three words and what they meant. GOD loves you…God Almighty, the creator of the universe, the great I AM, the Holy One of Israel, the King of the World, the Savior – Jesus Christ…that GOD…loves you. God LOVES you…loves, cherishes, protects, delights in, desires to be with, seeks out, longs for, waits for, died to redeem…that kind of LOVES you. God loves YOU…you, the one whose heart feels dead and cold, who messes up every day, whose best efforts are completely lacking, whose pride rises it’s ugly head continually, the you who just now could not even seem to pray, the you who had no hope no matter how full the glass seemed to be…that YOU. I was absolutely spellbound by those three words. God loves you.
I thought about that short statement the rest of the way home. What if that sign had said, “God is love” instead? It’s true, you know…that God is love…it says exactly that in 1 John 4:8. It’s a beautiful thing that the Creator God of all the universe is love, because it means that He created everything with love…and we are His workmanship…so that means He created us with love. It means He is not some angry, punitive God waiting to hurl lightning bolts at us whenever we screw up. It means the things He does are loving and kind, even when we don’t understand them. It means love governs all that He does. It tells us about God’s character. But that’s not anywhere close to the realization that God loves me.
The wonderful thing about God loving me is that it’s personal…it’s not just about Who God is, but how He relates to me. For Example, He loves me specifically, constantly, fiercely, and actively…check it out… In Deuteronomy 23:5 it says, “…the LORD your God loves you.” (You, in this verse means specifically YOU!) In Jeremiah 31:3 God says, “I have loved you with and everlasting love.” (Everlasting means lasting forever…constant…never-ending.) In Ephesians 5:2 Paul says, “Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” (It’s a pretty fierce Lover that is willing to die for His beloved.) And 1 Thessalonians 1:4 states, “God loves you and has chosen you to be His own…” (Choosing someone is an act, and God chooses you.) So you can take it as truth, God loves you. And that changes everything.
I know there are always going to be occasional days when I just feel kind of down, and broken, and not like my usual self. That’s part of being human even when you are a glass half-full kind of girl. But now on those days God brings to mind that simple sign…three words painted in black letters on a piece of plywood painted white…posted on someone’s front lawn of all places…and I am reminded how much greater the truth is than the current state of my emotions or feelings. Sometimes you have to cling to what you know and not to what you feel. You have to focus on Jesus, focus on the Truth. (Remember, in John 14:6 Jesus said, that He is the way, the truth, and the life.”) There’s power in truth…and this is the truth…GOD LOVES YOU!!!