Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
One of the simplest and most beloved Christian songs of all time. I recently began to teach Vivian the lyrics and it melts my heart to listen to her sing these precious words. As of yet she doesn’t understand what they mean, but my desire is that she would grow into them, believing them wholly and cherishing their truth in her innermost being.
If I’m being honest, these simple words are something that I struggle with daily. Especially in recent months as I feel myself drifting away from heart-anchoring reality, I find more doubts and questions and confusion rising to the surface. And I wonder if someone were to ask me, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ loves you?”, would my heart allow me to truly answer yes?
This post is not a denouncement of faith, but rather a baring of the soul. Peeling back the flesh of “I’m fine” and showing a bit of the infection festering underneath. Because the reality is, I have been going at it (or not) alone for so. Very. Long. And I’m exhausted. I can’t do this anymore.
It has been months – years, really – of accumulative struggle, but moving to a new state where I knew no one and no longer had a home church made the burden that much weightier. Then, a few months later, the world stood still for COVID-19 and we weren’t even allowed to attend church or try to make friends. The stay-at-home order honestly didn’t change my daily life all that much, but it definitely impacted me mentally and spiritually.
Does He love me?
There is a part of me that simply doesn’t believe that Jesus loves me, as much as I may say I do or want to feel so. It is much easier for me to believe in the general love of God. “Jesus loves the little children“, “God so loved the world“, Christ died to save sinners… yes and amen! God is love.
But when I am confronted with the raw, deep, personal love of God, some part of me retreats. No, I think. He doesn’t love me like that.
Why? I’m honestly not sure. I know from the Bible, from what I’ve heard and read and seen during my life, that God’s love is indeed personal. And yet it it so hard for me to believe that for myself.
This struggle goes beyond my relationship with God. I am doubtful of most people’s affections. I can’t understand why anyone would like me at all, much less consider me a friend. I see nothing attractive in myself – in appearance, intelligence, talent, etc… It’s not that I doubt my husband loves me, but I can’t for the life of me understand why he does. How he could.
I know that God’s choosing of us is based on His worth, His will, and doesn’t rest on our own merit. But it’s hard for me to reconcile that and the fact that, as a creature made in His image, I do have worth. Worthless, yet worthy. Unrighteous, yet seen as clean. There are so many facets of Christianity working their way to the surface of my mind, demanding to be reconciled, and I stand here not quite sure how to resolve these conflicts.
This, I think, is part of the unique struggle of growing up in the faith. You are raised knowing the truth, and yet there still comes of time of really knowing. Of learning and accepting it for yourself. That moment when you realize how much more there is to all of this, and that it goes beyond weekly church service. I began this process so many years ago and yet still I wrestle.
I’ve described this before as the gap between the head and heart – and by gap, I mean yawning chasm. Head and heart, knowledge and belief; faith. I may ‘know’ so much, but at the end of the end of the day, where does my faith lie? What do I believe? You can’t talk yourself into faith; only God can bridge that chasm.
Which brings us to this soul-trembling question… If I am doubtful of God’s love, how can I possibly say that I believe in Him? That I am His child?
There is so much constantly going on in my mind and heart, so much that I constantly am wrestling with… it’s a wearying battle. My anxieties and questions and fears cloud the joys of my life, a life blessed infinitely more than I could ever deserve. Perhaps I am too fixated on the past, or maybe I don’t take it seriously enough – but isn’t going forward what I should be working towards?
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.“
I share none of this looking for pity. I am not looking for compliments or false assurances. I just want to be honest for once with where I’m at, and ask for prayer. I don’t want to be alone anymore.
Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
He loves me – this is truth. Despite what the voices in my head would have me believe. It’s not too late. My heart is hurt and wandering, but the Shepherd still waits. Oh, that I would preach the truth to myself and that it would soak into the cracked places of my heart and take root there.
“Why are you downcast, oh my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.”