I was not the most popular kid in school. I was the last one picked for a team when we played kick-ball during recess. And, there was usually at least one bully who would realize I was fair game to be called “fat” or “chubby.” One time, in fifth grade, a rather nasty note was left on my desk, signed, “The Whole Class.” It made me cry. After dinner that night, I told Daddy, “No one likes me.”
He spent the next hour having me recall all the family and friends in my young life who not only liked me, they also loved me. I remember actually being surprised when I realized my love for them was even more important. I believe that is when I began to know the truth of God’s love for me in a way that was tangible. Looking back, I’m a bit in awe of my father’s wisdom in that moment. It’s as though God gave him a key to my heart. He didn’t waste any breath on defending me or even being offended for me. He simply reminded me I was neither bereft nor delinquent in the matter of love and friendship.
I’ve been blessed with many friendships over the years: deep and abiding ones. Maybe they are more precious to me because I was carved out by a wound, as though hurt gauged and then loved filled. Does it take deep pain to make us receive healing all the more joyfully?
Sin is desperately wicked, and until and unless we acknowledge the pain and destruction of it, we cannot fully receive God’s salvation from it. It’s a difficult word. Sin. We recoil from it. We don’t want to be associated with it, either in shame or judgement. The good news is that as soon as we agree with God about it, He is faithful to forgive. As long as we pretend we are not hurting, as long as we pretend it isn’t Sin, the cleansing blood of Jesus cannot benefit us. From the beginning of time, God’s plan has been to redeem the world from the separation and destruction of Sin. In this life, we get to acknowledge the horror of it and also get saved from it. And that’s as wild a ride as there is.
I shudder to think what would have happened all those years ago, if I had kept my hurt to myself and buried it within. Would I have become more and more lonely and less and less able to give my heart to anyone? I’m so grateful God didn’t leave me alone. He allowed me to glimpse the desert from the safety of an oasis. While I was still a child, in the bosom of my loving family, He carefully laid the stepping stones for my journey into His love. After all, He knows my name.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, how vast is Your love for us! You know us intimately and completely, and still Your grace is toward us. Thank You for relentlessly pursuing our hearts and for Your kindness in revealing the sin in our hearts, so that we may be healed and restored and renewed. We acknowledge our sin and receive Your forgiveness. Teach us to walk in mercy and forgiveness among our brothers and sisters. Bring Your Kingdom to bear and be glorified in our hearts today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Until next week, beloved, rest in this truth: He knows your name.