Nearly every night as I tuck my children into bed, I place my hands on theirs and pray that they would know how great God’s love is for them. It is a prayer I often mutter throughout the day when I go about life’s tasks and one that I’ve seen answered time and time again in my own life, witnessing the restorative truth it has unleashed in my heart. Because, really, if we can grasp even the most minute understanding of the vast, unmeasured, free love God has for us, the only thing it can do is change us.
I grew up in a home where I never knew a day without hearing of Jesus. I went to Sunday school and church….youth group and Christian camps. I knew a lot. I had a lot of the right answers and could sing all of the hymns and quote scripture from memory. But knowledge is dead without the love of Christ pulsing through our veins. To taste and feel the love of Christ is something that will shake all of the knowledge into a beautiful reality. The love of Christ is the key to breaking the bondage of strongholds in our lives. It holds immense power to unblind our eyes and enables the light to penetrate darkness. It takes the focus off of us and onto the cross. Once you’ve tasted it, you are free. Free from fear and bondage. Free from shaking the fierce fist of sin and offenses in your offenders face, free to drink in grace and abundantly offer it to others who have wounded you. And this, being the most precious part of tasting the love of Christ, is that when foes rise against you or circumstances press in on you and you trudge in the daily muck and mire of all the brokenness of this world, you have only to fall into the arms of God’s abundant love. It no longer matters what others think or what trials may come or what challenges lie ahead because you know you are loved. The undying truth is that, no matter what, when God looks at you, He can only see you through the eyes of Jesus, and this frees us to not only receive love amidst our own sin and shortcomings but to freely and graciously extend it to others. This was the miracle of the cross, and it is the very heart of the Gospel that Jesus looked upon the world and declared “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!” No longer can we be bound to our sin, the expectations of others, or the hurt we’ve suffered because of another’s sin, because of the vast, abiding love of Christ. Sometimes you have to walk through the darkness to know what light is. The key to freedom is tasting and seeing that His love has been there all along.
When I trust that I am loved, I know I am enough.
When I know I am enough, I feel secure.
When I feel secure, I am able to give and receive more love.
It’s a beautiful cycle. Peace begets more peace, joy begets more joy and love begets more love.
And the fullness of love is the fullness of life.
–Christa Hesselink (“Life’s Great Dare”)