Being home surprisingly always brings me so much relief. Perhaps it’s the change of environment; perhaps it is the presence of loving family members; perhaps it’s the abundance of good food and chocolate.
When I say goodbye to my mother, she is laying down in bed. I lean over her as I had years ago the first time I told her I loved her, hold her head and kiss her cheek. I rest my head next to hers as she reminds me to put the food in her fridge, to remember to bring the tupperware back. I kiss her cheek again and tell her I love her (saying it is painless; I no longer want to cry when I tell her) and she “mmmhs” a soft reply in response as I leave.
Dad holds the door open as I leave; I tell him I love him; he murmurs something in stilted response. I can’t make it out; it doesn’t matter; I know he loves me.
At Sunday school, they ask us this: How can we be sure God really loves us?
My reaction is a manic grin and a scoff.
There are many valid answers to this question. I myself have many answers. But, I’m laughing and shaking my head because oh my gosh I can’t even convey the absurdity of the emotions I’m feeling right now. This question does weird things to me.
Just a year ago, I questioned if my father really loved me. I questioned the whole concept of love, the sincerity of people’s words when they told people they loved people, how easily people tossed the word around. What really is love, you know?? Can I believe you when you tell me you love me? Super insecure, I know.
But, I always believed that my dad only cared for me because he prided himself on being a righteous man. I believed he loved himself, his own reputation, more than he loved me. When I look back on that, I want to smack myself.
Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Have you forgotten how much your father sacrificed for you? How he worked multiple part time jobs while being a full time student, how he lived in the cold basement of a stranger, how he learned a new language and came to a foreign country with no friends and family to start a better life for you? How he labored and suffered throughout the years, taking the crap that you threw at him, rebellious and ungrateful as you were. How disrespectful you were to him yet he chose to stick with you and the rest of your dysfunctional family and all their individual faults and shortcomings.
Which could carry him that far; pride or love?
My father loves me.
He wanted me. He raised me as his daughter. He could have kicked me out the moment I turned 18 (which he in fact threatened to do several times but never came through) and he could have walked out (in which I probably wouldn’t have the heart to blame him for doing so) but he didn’t. There are many ways by which I know he loves me. This is just one of them.
In the same way, I know God loves me. In the way He is my Father and I am His daughter. He wanted me. He created me. He sacrificed for me; coming down to a world He didn’t belong in, living and laboring physically as a man when He should have been exalted as King, forgiving me and guiding me when I swatted His hand away in childish petulance and arrogance. He doesn’t leave me. Yes, I see many similarities between my earthly father and heavenly Father.
There is one difference. My heavenly Father is perfect. He lacks absolutely nothing. Whereas I could probably have some minimal margin for arguing that my dad only takes care of me because he wants to be seen as a good person, I can’t argue the same for my heavenly Father. No amount of praise can lift Him any higher; He is the highest. All of heaven worships Him; all creation sings to Him. He is exalted. He doesn’t need me to praise Him. He doesn’t need humans to add to his glory. In fact, if anything, we only help to detract from His glory; misusing His name, disobeying Him, failing as a likeness to Him.
He is the highest yet he became the lowest for us.
He doesn’t need us. So, why did He create us? Why, when He knew man would fall, why, when He knew in order for man to be saved, He would have to suffer and die? Why, when He knows of how disobedient we would be, how hurtful we would be towards Him?
Why would an uncaring, unloving God bother with us?
Our existence is proof that He loves us.
He wanted us. He created us. He loves us.
I guess I laughed because I found the question absurd. Isn’t it obvious? How can you doubt that God loves you?
How, when your heart beats and your lungs breathe?
And just in case you were interested; one of my favorite psalms in a song.