Do you remember the moment you realized that God loves you? Or when and how you responded when you understood just what God and Jesus were all about?
I came to belief at a very young age. My earliest memories of Jesus are of me in nursery school (that’s what pre-school was called) when I was 3 years old. I was sitting in my teacher’s lap and she was teaching me the names of the disciples. From there “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and other songs relayed to me Who Jesus is and What He’s all about. I grew up, having made my “public profession of faith” when I was seven. Even then satan was using the one person I loved and trusted- my grandmother- to hold me back. When I told her that I was ready to tell the world I believed, she stopped me that Sunday morning saying I was too young to understand. But, the next week, she physically tried to catch my arm when I slipped out of the pew that week. I fairly rushed down to the pastor waiting at the front of the church.
Had I enough time I could tell you what a tumultuous life I had growing up. But that’s not the point here.
Every step I’ve taken He’s been with me, watching over me as a child, protecting me; sometimes He was my only companion and I’ve always trusted Him.
To His Glory – not mine.
As I grew up, I had those moments when I questioned what I was going through. And, as an adult, there have been times when I’ve been like Job- wanting to know “Why” and “How long?”. There have been those times when I’ve felt far from God; wanting to know what I was doing wandering around in the wilderness with no end in sight and why He had allowed me to be there.
In the middle of the wilderness, I had an experience which I am relaying here- the moment when I knew God truly loved ME. Me, the individual, not me, one of many in a world He created.
I was working as a school nurse and was in a Bible study that met once a week (BSF, if you are curious). The study involves reading a portion of scripture daily and answering questions pertaining to that scripture. One afternoon when I was working on my study, I was sitting on the bed with my bible, questions and my study notebook spread out in front of me. I began having contact lens problems and in the process of trying to extract it, suddenly it popped out (hard lens) and landed I knew not where. I looked for over an hour for it- on the bed, on the floor, in my papers, Bible, my clothes, everywhere to no avail. Those of you who know what that’s like can identify, I’m sure.
The loss of that contact was traumatic to me at the time. My contacts were expensive to replace and in a time where we were struggling to keep three growing kiddos in ever changing shoe sizes this was an almost insurmountable challenge. I was virtually blind without contacts. So, I was lucky, I still had one contact! It would be at least 3 weeks before I would be able to purchase a replacement.
I was a desperate woman.
I managed with one contact, drove only when I had to, wore my old glasses at home. Two weeks had gone by, and again I was studying my lesson for BSF. I turned the page to get to my questions in my notebook and there before my pitiful eyes was my contact.
I fell apart.
The God I was studying and trying to discern how to apply His wisdom to my life and the One I was asking those questions of “Why” and “How long?” had answered without a word the unspoken question that was lingering in the back of my heart- “If He loved me, truly loved me what purpose did the things I was going through have for me and when would I have relief?”
In that blink of an eye, that split second, any doubt I have ever had about God was answered- He Loves ME. I don’t have the words to express the emotions that went blazing through my heart and still go through me when I think about this.
Maybe if I explain what was going on in my life at that time- My elderly mother- in her 80’s – (the grandmother in the earlier part of the story) had decided to finally moved closer to where we lived so I could be of help if she needed anything. Her life could be the subject of a book as could my life with her…. She was what I call functionally insane. Two of my children were in high school and one was attending school with me every day. My husband was spending three hours a day on the highway getting to and from work. He was exhausted when he came home as was I. We were struggling to just keep the family on an even keel. So the expense of the contact would have been a serious dent- much more than we had available to us.
For God to provide what we could not and in the way He did- the notebook where the contact was lost and subsequently found-had been with me in and out of the car, to church, school, band practices, ball games, virtually everywhere- since I used every available free moment to work on my study. It had been opened and closed countless times in those two weeks.
He is so faithful, He provided what I needed when I needed it most. Granted, I went half-blind for a couple of weeks; but I wouldn’t change the experience for anything. It galvanized my faith like nothing else could. You see, I had always lived wondering if I was really loved by anyone (sorry, sweetheart, even by you at times). But in this moment I truly understood the the words to the old hymn “Love Lifted Me”- when nothing else could help, Love lifted me!
and I know what He meant when He told His children in captivity:
For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.