I was at church this past Sunday night, and my pastor said something I’ve heard said a zillion other times, but never really let it sink in . . . Jesus died on that cross for you, and if it had been only for you, he would have still done it.
I’m not sure the reason, but it sat there with me this time, resonating in the silence of the building, only the pastor’s voice being heard. If it were only one of us, only me, or only you, he still would have taken that beating, that bloody, gruesome, painful death. For only one of us.
And then I thought some more. We are his children, God’s children, his beloved. He created us and he adores us. And then I thought of my children, and how I love them, all six of them and what I wouldn’t do for any of them, even if only one needed me, what I wouldn’t do for just that one, and it hit me like a wrecking ball. He loves us not as a number, but as a child. I am not number 5,104,369,287. I am Alison, his beloved daughter that he made and perfected in his image. If no one but me had needed saving, Jesus would have still taken his place on that cross because he loves us that much. Individually, intimately, personally, just Him and me. He loves ME that much and he loves YOU that much.
Have you ever stopped to think about that? To just let that sink to the bottom of your soul? The creator of the universe, of every star in the galaxy and every droplet of water in the vast sea, loves me and knows me by name. He knows the numbers of hairs on my head. He formed me and knit me together in the womb.
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night–but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Pslam 139:1-16 NLT
And then how my soul was wrecked because I fall so short of his goodness and his love. I stray and pull away almost intentionally it seems at times. I let the world push me into a corner until I explode under the weight of it all. I hurt and ache, wanting to feel God near me, when it is me alone who is doing all the wandering. I call out in the night, ‘Save me God, see me, hear me, help me.’ And he calls back, ‘But I’m right here. I’ve always been right here, all you have to do is open your eyes and see me, open your ears and hear me, just open your heart for me.’
And something comes to my attention, a video from a few years ago by Ann Voskamp, reminding us to be thankful in every situation. Thank Him for everything, even when the world and Satan are lying to you, screaming at you to be angry at your spouse for his muddy shoes and clothes lying in the floor where he dropped them on his way to the shower; whispering that your children aren’t sharing in their responsibilities around the house and how you’re doing everything while they all sit and watch. He is a deceiver, a liar, a conniver and a thief of your happiness and joy. Do NOT let Satan steal your joy today. Stop and THANK the Holy Father for your husband or your children AND for their messes because there are those who wish they had those messes to clean up and those clothes to pick up. Thank Him for your husband and his job that allows him to get so nasty that he needs a shower so he can sit next to you on the couch and you can talk to him about your day. Thank God for every detail of your life, whether you have a husband and kids or dogs or a job or school or whatever circumstance is in your life, and you will see the goodness again, not just the negative.
He does love you, he does see you and he does desire every good thing for you. Open yourself up for him today and make a place for him in your heart.