Does God Really Love Me?
(#263 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son [daughter], so Yahweh your Mighty One chastens you. (Deuteronomy 8:5)
Both arms on the table, dark golden brown curls draped over them. Only a portion of her bronzed elbows showing. “Eliana,” I say. “Lift up your head sweetie.” Her saddened eyes and pouty lips slowly lift off her arms. While examining her intense beauty, I ask her, “Does daddy correct you and discipline you because he is angry at you, or because he loves you?” I can see the little brown eyes go deep inside to the place where thoughts are gathered. The pouty lips then reply, “Because you love me?” Unsure if she has answered correctly, she watches as I grab her arms and reply, “Of course it is because I love you. I will always love you. Nothing can ever stop me from loving you more and more every day. That is why I must correct you for your disobedience.”
I quickly search the recesses of my mind and ask myself why she might ever doubt my love for her. Why would she ever perceive my discipline as anger? Why would she not distinguish my correction as my love for her? The answer is quite painful and includes one of those thoughts we all wish to stuff away and forget. It is possible to hide from the answer for a while, but not forever. We all must face it at some time. She perceives anger and not love because my actions have taught her so. Gladly I can say they are past actions that the Spirit has corrected in me, but nonetheless, I must own the responsibility for planting those seeds in her. “Perfect love never fails,” the scripture says (1 Corinthians 13:8), and I have certainly not loved perfectly.
There is another side as well, and that is her part. It is also something at which we all fail. We fail to understand the perfect love Yahweh has towards us. Yes, she is young, but she will soon have to acknowledge what we all must—fear. We all fear perfect love. It is the fear that it could actually be available, especially from the unseen Great I Am. I often try to imagine His love, one that has never been angry at me. Though He expresses emotion, His forgiveness is available all along. The Mighty One demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, the Messiah died for us. (Romans 5:8) His discipline is always contained within perfect love. We long for perfect love to be real, yet we fear it, perhaps because once we taste its sweetness we will realize how bland everything else is.
This is the love I want my Eliana to see in me and receive from me. But there is no way I can do that until I have received it from Him. I have promised my Heavenly Father that I will not be afraid to attempt it. Perhaps I will have the courage to accept it. Perhaps she and you will also. I could only ever desire to love her perfectly. And if I know how to give good gifts, how much more my Father in Heaven? (Matthew 7:11)
It is the perfect gift Father that my Eliana would hear Your still small voice for all the days of her life whispering; “I love you Eliana. I will never fail you. I will always be here, always want you, always cherish you, and always correct you so that you also will be made perfect in My love. I will always be so very thankful that I made you and that you shall exist eternally.”
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of Yahweh, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom Yahweh loves He chastens, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Hebrews 12:3-6 from Proverbs 3:11-12)