Several years ago I read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It caused me to realize that I was terrible at loving my spouse the way she needed to be shown love. However, it also taught me how to and gave us language to help us communicate better when we were feeling unloved. I was reminded of this book when I read a friend’s post on social media. She wrote that she, like many girls, has insecurities and wanted to be put on a pedestal by her man. She wanted to be told that he loves her and to be communicated with constantly. She completed the post by saying that sometimes we are too damaged from previous relationships and need reassurance and love more than anything. From reading that, it’s clear what her love languages are, but more than anything it’s a cry for love.
One of our greatest needs is to be loved. God put inside each of us the need to be loved, to know love and to love. Genesis says that we are made in God’s image, and 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. Part of that image that we’re made in is a love shaped hole in our life. He created us in a way that only He can fill that void and need in our life, but if we don’t look to Him to fill it, we will search elsewhere. We expect other humans to fill that void and unfortunately it’s not enough. We will always be searching for that missing part and feel like something is missing. I’ve talked to person after person who has searched in unconventional ways to try to stop that feeling of something missing only to feel like there’s something wrong with them or that they must be unlovable. Their cry for love is often silent and unseen by us.
I believe our highest priority in life is to find intimacy with God and that it will determine the course and impact of our life. We cannot truly love others or receive true love until we have received love from God. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love each other because he loved us first” (NLT). Once we know what love is, we’re more capable of loving others more fully because we have experienced true love. We know that God’s love is selfless because He loved this world so much that He gave us His one and only Son. He went to great lengths to demonstrate His love for us when we least deserved it. He heard our cry for love and responded. That void you feel, no matter how you express your cry for love and need for intimacy, is first found in Jesus. No person or thing will ever fill it. You were created to know God and find your wholeness in Him. No matter what you’ve done or what lengths you’ve gone to to fill that void, God still loves you a desires intimacy with you. He’s only a prayer away.
Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
If you are perfect, then you don’t have to read this today. If you are a flawed failure like me, you can keep reading. The good news is that you are just who God is looking for to use. He rarely picks anyone perfect to carry out His plan. If you look at the list of people God has used to do great things through, it’s full of flawed failures. It’s full of people who you probably wouldn’t want to work with.
Moses knew his own flaws and tried to use them as an excuse to not do what God was asking him to do. He stuttered. He murdered. He ran away from his responsibilities. He was orphaned as a baby. He had excuses, but God sees our excuses as opportunities to connect with others. He sees our flaws as ways to build dependence on Him. He’s ok with you not measuring up to what you think He wants. You actually already have what He wants. That’s why He chose you to do His will.
Each of us have a purpose to fulfill. God has a desire to use you despite your flaws and excuses. He has a purpose for your life that only you can fulfill. God is not concerned with your past if you’ve gone to Him for forgiveness. He’s taken your past into account when He planned your future. He knew the struggles you were going to face. He knew where and how you were going to fail and still planned to use you. It’s hard for us to understand because what disqualifies us humanly somehow qualifies us spiritually.
God’s ways are higher than our ways. What we consider wise is foolishness to Him. When we point to the scars, disappointment, failures and sin, He points to the cross. It’s in our weakness that He can truly work. If we rely on our strengths and abilities, we get in His way. When we think we can’t or shouldn’t be used by Him, we are ready to be used by Him. If we had the ability to do it on our own, we wouldn’t rely on Him.
God can and will use our strengths, but He’s really interested in our flaws and failures. He uses those to bring healing to others and to show them that He can use them too. Be open about your past. Tell others about your scars. Your story (testimony) brings hope and healing to others. When you hide who you were, you hide the grace that God bestowed on you. Others need to see that God can forgive a past that’s dark and full of sin. Others need to see that God can and still uses someone as flawed as us.
I’m broken this morning by the goodness of God. I’m overwhelmed at how much He loves us. The more I think about it, the more broken I become. The David Crowder song “How He Loves Us” is playing in my mind and I keep breaking down as the lyrics sink in. “He is jealous for me, loves likes a hurricane. I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.” Today, I’m that tree that is bent over because I’m blown away at how much He loves us. We’ve not given Him any reason to. We’ve done everything that we can to push Him away, but He loves us anyway.
That kind of love is hard for me to grasp. How can He still love us when we treat Him like a genie, hurt others that He loves dearly and live our lives for ourselves? Just about everything we do should give Him a reason not to love us. Yet He shows His mercy in each sunrise. He offers His grace with each new dawn. How many mornings have I just taken His love, grace and mercy for granted? How many times has He painted the sky with His love for me and I missed it because I was too busy looking for other things besides Him? But He loves me anyway.
The song “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe comes to mind. “This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand. I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming.” I’m experiencing those feelings today, yet I believe it should be an every day thing. I should be overwhelmed day by day at just how good God is to me. I should be overflowing with thankfulness at the blessings He’s given me. I should be thankful for breath and life each morning. I should be honored that He spends time with me each day and walks with me. Instead, I treat those things like an all too familiar routine of motions that I go through each day. Even then, He loves me anyway.
When is the last time you stopped and just rested in God’s love? When is the last time you went swimming in His grace? Have you stood still long enough for Him to give you the embrace He wants to give you? His arms are open wide and He’s looking right at you today. His eyes are filled with love for you. He’s calling out your name. Can you hear it? He wants so little from us and yet offers unending love so freely. He’s patient when we’re too busy to stop and let Him love us. He’s good to us when we’ve done nothing to deserve it. He doesn’t care how many times we’ve brushed Him off or pushed Him aside. He loves you more than you are capable of understanding. No matter what you’ve done, He loves you anyway.