Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Understanding God's Love

I was having a crisis of faith last week.   I was meditating on the fact that God loves me.  That much I cannot doubt.  I know it from a theological angle--from everything thing I have been taught.  God loves everyone.  God IS love.  God gave His love for the world.  I also know it because I recognized how God has shown me His love.   Through my wife's tender touch on my shoulder and kind words when I'm sad.  By my children's joy when they see me.  And by having friends who know the right time to be there when I need them, or know the right thing to say.   These are all examples of graces that God has given me that to deny God's love for me would just be ignorant.

My question that I had going through my head is WHY does God love me.  Again, I can give myself the correct theological answer.  God loves everyone.  We are made in His image and likeness.  God is love and cannot help but to love us.  It is His nature.   I understand those as best as I can---I think.  Let's face it, it is mind boggling to think that God loves everyone and wants a personal relationship with everyone---even the crazy cat lady.

But, I was having difficulty wrapping my head around--why does God love ME??  I was having problems getting this idea from my head to my heart.  You see, I can understand why my wife or my kids or my mom loves me.  I can even understand why my friends love me.   But, I know everything that goes on in my little head.  I know my sinful past. I recognize my faults that I have now.  I don't trust myself not to sin again if and when the temptation strikes me again.  I see all those faults in my and it bothers me and I'll be honest--I have problems liking myself much less understanding why God, who knows all and see all, would also love me.

Strange thing starts to happen.  Mark Hart posted on his Facebook. "Facing a challenging situation?  You should feel affirmed - God obviously thinks more of you than you do."    Ahhhhhhh, exactly what I needed to hear on that day---almost as if Mark Hart is stalking me.

And then, I was discussing my thoughts with a friend and she used my dog Amelia as an analogy.  At my house, we have a pack---four dogs.  On Valentine's day, Amelia got into a scuffle with one of our other dogs, Sarge, and we had to take her to the vet because she got cut up and was bleeding.   By the time we had gotten her to the emergency vet she had bled all over my car.  It looked like a crime scene.

My friend said this, "Of course there is disappointment when we chose to sin, but He is still there loving us just like you still love Amelia when she sheds blood all over your car from yet another fight."

It clicked right there for me.  Yeah, I still love Amelia when she is bad.  I'll still love her when she jumps up on my dresser or tears something up or eats my food.  She's just a dog and it's her nature.  And that behavior is to be expected until she is trained well enough not to do that.    "DING"---An Ah-Ha moment.  In my pride, I try to put myself on God's level or bring Him down to mine in order to understand Him.  But, I'm not on God's level.   It's the same difference between God and me and me and Amelia.  God understand who I am better than me and understands my sinful nature and loves me enough to stick with me until I'm "trained" well enough not to behave sinfully.  Obviously, "trained" is not the appropriate word---it's actually a conversion of heart.

Amelia was a rescue--this was her shelter picture.
So, it's really silly and pointless to sit around and worrying about WHY God loves me or WHY God forgives me.   I'm not going to figure it out so shut up, sit back, accept God's grace and let that grace transform me into the man I want to be.

Interestingly enough, over the next several days, I've seen several things on Facebook that seem to be the Holy Spirit talking to me and reminding me that God is trying to show me how much He loves me. Another one happened just today when I say a picture posted on the Facebook page, "UCatholic."   It is a quote from St. Augustine that says "There is no Saint without a past, no sinner without a future."  

God loves me.  I don't know why---but He does.

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