This has always been the million dollar question for me. Not “how much does God love me,” but “how could God love me?” Am I really a person worth loving? And even if I am, does that make me worth dying for? Could he really love me that much? Me. A sinner. A person who is completely imperfect, and shows it daily. A girl who has hurt other people, who has made mistakes, who has simply fallen short. Why me?
That question used to haunt me. In fact, it shook my faith to the core for a long time. People told me about this merciful God, full of love and grace, but I couldn’t understand why I was worth it. Yeah, Jesus came. He died. But why? Why did God do that for me and you and all the other imperfect people in the world?
You see, for a long time I didn’t believe in the love embedded into the cross. When Jesus said he came to die for our sins, I kind of just assumed I was lucky enough to be lumped in with all the more deserving people. Jesus didn’t come for me - he came for everyone else, and since I was around, I got to reap the benefits, too. I believed that so strongly for so long that it seeped into every part of my life. I was never good enough in my eyes. I was constantly falling short in life. I wasn’t a good enough friend or a good enough person. I could have done better. I could have been better.
I didn’t love myself, because I didn’t think God loved me. And if God didn’t love me, how could I have the audacity to say I was even worth the love?
It was a fast spiral down into despair, and at heart of it was that question: How could God love me?
I thank God every day that he didn’t leave me in that place of defeat. He sent people into my life that loved on me so hard, I had to start admiring the woman in the mirror for the masterpiece God made her to be. But even though I’ve started to feel his love, the why behind it still confuses me (and probably always will). One of my all-time favorite verses is Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates his love in this - while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s a kind of love I can’t understand, partially because I’m not God, but also partially because I’m not a parent. I don’t know what it’s like to love a child so much that you’d do anything to save them - that you’d sacrifice anything to do so. I don’t know what it’s like to love your sheep so much that when you count them and discover one missing, you go out to find that one.
It took me awhile to get there, but I hope you can see that you’re the sheep. You’re the one God drops everything to find, to save. You’re the prodigal son, and even though you so definitely do not deserve it, God is waiting to throw you the best party of your life the moment you come back home.
You’re not just lumped in with everyone else. You’re not just a useless sheep that God won’t notice has gone missing. Something the Christian Fellowship Club advisor at my college told us in a meeting once has stuck with me ever since, and it’s this: if you were the only person on this planet, God would have still sent Jesus to die for you. So if no one else was in the equation except for you and God, he would have still sacrificed everything for you.
I’m not going to pretend that I understand the depth and breadth of God’s love, because I don’t. And I’m not going to pretend that I spend every day basking in his love, because sometimes I don’t feel that love at all. But when I touch the cross in the necklace I wear, or play with the many rings I have with that symbol on it, I remember all that soaked into those wooden boards. He gave the ultimate sacrifice. For you. And for me.
At the end of the day, we’re his kids. And you don’t stop loving your kids because they make a mistake. You don’t stop loving them for anything, even when they break your heart (as I’m sure we’ve all done to God at some point). They’re yours. Nothing they do or say changes that.
So when you’re wondering “how could God love me,” stop thinking about all the reasons why he shouldn’t love you. Because those reasons don’t matter, no matter how big they are, no matter how deeply they’re ingrained in your heart. Think of Romans again - “while we were still sinners.” He doesn’t love you because you’re perfect.
He loves you because you’re his.