You are not just in God’s world; you are God’s world.
When things were no longer working out living in my parent’s home, my Grandparents decided to drive from New Jersey to Boston, pick me up, move me to Florida, and raise me as their own. At that point in my life, self-esteem was not even a blip on the radar of my life; thus, this twelve-year-old boy never made eye contact with anyone, and my head remained down, even while walking. While others around me perceived such behavior as rude, my Grandmother saw through the outward appearances; knowing my story, she attributed my behavior to years of being emotionally broken down. From teachers to police officers and guidance counselors to Cub Scout leaders, I had been rejected for years, with some adult influences in my life even prophesying about my worthless future. The result? I believed it all; I was no good, a bad seed, a worthless piece of garbage that no one wanted, and one that would never amount to anything good.
One day that all changed. After my Grandmother and I had passed a few cheerful walkers on the golf cart trail, people I never looked up to greet; she had enough. Her brisk walk came to an abrupt halt, I bumped into her backside, and she wrapped her hands around my face, lifted my head to make eye contact, and shared her heart with words new to my ears. “Tom,” she started, with tears in her eyes, “I love you. Your Grandfather and I uprooted our entire lives for you, left our home, and traveled far because we care about you. No matter what you have been told in the past, it is time for you to hear the truth; you are special and are loved”. With that, her voice turned stern, and she admonished me with, “So, knowing you are special, pick your head up, put your chest out, and walk with pride, you are loved!”. While I don’t think her words had the full effect that day, I know it was the turning point that inspired me on my journey of worth.
Nine years later, at the age of 21, I sat in the back row of a church, searching for something missing in my life. To this day, I don’t remember the sermon or the songs, but the message was clear, there was a God, and He loved me. Yet, as I surveyed my life, full of sin and rebellion, I wrestled to believe that God could truly love someone like me, yet, when the sermon was over, I made my way down to the altar, hoping it could be true. That 30-40-foot journey passed as in slow motion as I cried out to God, “My father left me, my mom didn’t want me, inside I am angry, hurting, and lonely; I am falling apart, could you God, love someone like me.” I was interrupted, when, like my Grandmother years before, God stopped me abruptly and had some words of His own. Speaking to my heart, He said something like, “I love you. I uprooted my entire life, left my home, and traveled far because I care about you. No matter what you have been told in the past, it is time for you to hear the truth; you are special and are loved”. Upon my arrival at the altar, my tears of pain turned to tears of praise as I celebrated a Father that loved, adopted, and promised never to leave me; I have been enjoying that love ever since. Everything changes when we realize that we don’t just live in God’s world; we are His world.
Scripture: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” -Jeremiah 1:5a, ESV
Scripture: “Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” -Luke 12:7b, ESV
Scripture: “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” -Psalm 139:13, ESV
Scripture: “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” -Isaiah 43:4a, ESV
Scripture: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” -Zephaniah 3:17
Question: When was the last time you thought about the love that God has for you? Have you ever surrendered to that love by actively pursuing Christ in your life? The last question, I promise, will you be willing to read each of the above scripture and talk to God about how they make you feel today?
Prayer: Father, there are times that I become so overwhelmed with the voices around me, even those from within, that I start to believe them. Times when I feel my best days are behind me, that I am alone, unloved, and forgotten. Please place your loving arms around me, reminding me of your love. May the message of what you did in demonstrating your love toward me never get old but encourage my heart every moment of every day. Thank you that I don’t just live in your world, but am your world, undeserving, but grateful. Thank you for changing me through your love. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.