I John 4:10 (NCV)
If I have learned anything about God in 60+ years it’s that He loves me and He loves you. It’s that God holds onto me, I do not hold onto God. I think I love God, but in the big scheme of things, God is the one who continuously and ardently loves me.
Sometimes I don’t know why.
My prayers can be selfish and mouthy.
I have been known to throw a tantrum in prayer in order to get my way.
I have yelled.
I have stomped my feet while praying.
I have acted like a horrible toddler when I want MY way.
So, here’s the thing. God still loves me. He KNOWS me. He knows how obstinate I can be and He loves that about me. That’s because time is nothing to God. He can look at what I WILL be. He knows that someday my stubborn strength will be one of my greatest assets.
I wish I’d been able to see my future children in the same way.
At two years old, my oldest son was THE most stubborn child I’ve seen. My favorite short story of all time is “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry. I highly recommend it as a great short story. In the tale, a 10 year old red-headed boy is kidnapped, taken to a cave, and held for ransom.
The two criminals who took the boy sent the ransom note to his wealthy father demanding $2000.00. Then the fun begins...for the boy. His father knows his son and he refuses to pay the ransom. The child’s constant prattle eventually drives the criminals insane and they lower the price of the ransom. The child’s father does not waiver. He knows his son. In the end the criminals make a deal with the wealthy father to let the boy come home if THEY pay HIM $250.00. The criminals have to trick the boy into returning home, but they are eventually able to be set free from the boy.
I loved this story when I first read it in high school. Little did I know It at the time, but God would send me a red-headed boy who never wavered from dawn to dusk. He constantly asked questions. By the time he was three I made a rule that he was only allowed three questions in an hour. When he had used up his three questions with me, he turned to his older sister and asked her questions. His appetite for knowledge was insatiable. He started reading just after he turned four. He MADE his older sister (who was just 20 months his senior) teach him how to read by asking her a thousand questions. He got a 30 on his ACT when he was 15 years old. That was the first time he took the test. In college he took several levels of Calculus as electives because he loved it and the credits didn’t fit into his science degree plan. When he graduated from college he called me one day and told me he had signed some papers with the military and a few months later he went through officer training. Today, he has equivalent of three Masters Degrees, is getting ready to retire from his commission in the military next month after 20 years of service. When he was young, I once told him I was certain he would be President of the United States someday. Even today, that would not surprise me.
When he graduated from college, I had been praying for him. I wasn’t sure there was a woman on the planet who could match his fierce and unwavering character. I was wrong. His wife is MORE than a good match for him. She is lovely and gracious but she does not blink.
Both of them are unwavering in their commitment to God.
What has surprised me about my son is that God gave him similar gifts that He gave to me. In many ways his gifts are stronger than mine. God speaks to him in mighty ways. I do not know what God has in store for this couple when they exit military life, but nothing would surprise me.
In I John 4:10 we read, “This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.”
See, it’s NOT about how much WE love God that matters. What matters is how much God loves US. Nothing that I do, nothing that they do, nothing that you do matters. What matters is that God sent His son to suffer and die for us. God will not let go of us. God will not let go.
Everything God has done for my son and his wife has been for a purpose. Ultimately, how we recognize the voice of God’s LOVE is through prayer and getting to know God. God’s voice is always there...we just need to open our mind and our hands to receive it.
Years ago after my son turned two I reread “The ransom of Red Chief” and I wept. I knew God had a purpose for him. All of my children are unwavering in their own way so the story about my redheads son is just one example. Nothing God does through any of them would surprise me. I have always told each of them they are mighty warriors for God and God has outrageous plans for them.
Nothing God does through YOU would surprise me, either. There IS a mighty warrior inside you. And, nothing that you do matters. What matters is that God loves you. Oh, and God DOES have outrageous plans for you.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Ask
Ask God to give you a sense of His unwavering love for you. Ask God to show you in some way the plans He us for you. I guarantee they are huge!
In God, Deborah