I often ask God to show me He loves me. Although I know that the Bible says God’s loves for those who fear him is as high as the heavens are above the earth (Psalm 103:11) and my brain (usually) believes that, sometimes my heart wants to see, taste and feel it. I want to know that I know that I know, that personally, intimately and unconditionally God loves me.
I read about a woman who asked God to show her His love while she was walking along the ocean. She looked up and immediately saw her favorite sea creature, a big a beautiful sand dollar, washed up on shore. (OK, I’m BAD with details. Her favorite animal may have been a dolphin, whale or blow fish, but just stay with me). When she saw the sand dollar right after she prayed, she felt warm and fuzzy and knew God loved her. She walked further on and this time looked up to see not one, but hundreds and hundreds of sand dollars (dolphins, whales, algae…whatever) washed up on shore. She dropped to her knees in awe.
When I ask God to show me His love it never looks like that. Maybe my faith is too small or I’m not looking closely enough (though I’m pretty sure I’d notice like 6,000 clown fish), but that isn’t how God answers my prayers. Don’t get me wrong. I hope for that and I’d love for Him to do that (and I believe He can do that), but for me and for most…He’s subtle.
I’ve been sick for a month. I had the flu, then bronchitis, then pleurisy (inflammation of the lung lining that makes it feel like someone kicked your ribs 17 or 18 times). I haven’t gotten up to pray or read my Bible for a long time (when you are coming out of a codeine cough syrup hangover, mornings are rough). But instead of feeling guilty like I normally would, God has been subtly reminding me He loves me. One day He reminded me He doesn’t love me because I read the Bible or love me less when I don’t. He’s been reminding me He loves me as much when I’m complaining than He does when I’m thanking Him.
How has God let me know He loves me lately without sending any marine animals? He’s whispered. After beating myself up last week about being a bad mom I heard this quiet thought, “You’re a good mom,” and it made me cry. He gave me the Spirit inspired thought when I was being prideful that he loves me when I think I’m all that, just as much as when I think I’m a failure. When my son said he didn’t remember when I accidentally (but in anger) shut the car door on his finger years ago, God whispered, “love holds no record of wrong…”
Although I’d love for God to send me a baby monkey (wearing people clothes – that’s my favorite creature) as an immediate and obvious sign of his love for me, I’m learning not to mistake His subtle and gentle whispers for a lack of his intimate, genuine and personal love for me when I need it most.