When my daughter, Rebekah, was 3 or 4 years old, I used to play a game with her. Snuggled by my side on the couch, I’d ask , “Who loves you?”, after which she’d say, “Mommy loves me!”
“Who loves you?” I’d ask again. “Johnny loves me!”
“Who loves you?” “Lizabeth loves me!”
“Who loves you?” “Noah loves me!”
“Who loves you?” “Jesus loves me!”
No matter how many times I asked her, she never said, “Daddy loves me!” She would name everybody in our family, and even close friends from the church, but she never said my name until I reached over to tickle her. Only then would she scream with glee, “Daddy, loves me! Daddy, loves me!” and collapse into my arms, looking up at me with shining eyes. This game was a place of delight and security for both of us—a celebration of love between a father and daughter.
All of my life I have struggled with a sense of self-loathing and inadequacy. You might not know it to look at me, but I regularly beat myself up, calling myself “stupid” and worse. I’ve always believed that God loved me, but somehow that belief never penetrated to the deepest core of my soul.
Recently, I was discussing this with a friend and she asked me, “Have you talked to Jesus about it?”
No matter what I share with her, sooner or later, she asks me “Have you talked to Jesus about it?” and almost always my answer is “No.” Nevertheless, her question made me stop and think.
As we continued to talk I was reminded of two things—the story I shared with you and a bible verse:
Can a woman forget her sucking child,
that she should have no compassion on the child of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:15-16)
The Bible verse invited me to let Jesus heal my wounds with his love. And so I decided to climb up into Jesus’ lap like a little child. There in his arms I experienced some healing and relief. Every couple of hours for the next few days, I took time to remember this verse and to imagine myself sitting in Jesus’ lap as he reassured me of his love. Many times I still struggle with self-loathing and doubt, but when I do I return to Jesus as a little child and play a game of “who-loves-you?” with him.
Dear people of God, “Who loves you?”
Jesus loves you. He has always loved you and he always will. I invite you to climb into his lap and to relax in his gentle embrace.
© November 8, 2017 by Rev. Michael A.
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