I haven't been in the car much lately. Since the kids are on winter break, I'm not doing my regular commute but I like the series name so I'm keeping it.
A couple of days ago I was having a conversation with a new-ish friend and through it, realized I didn't believe Jesus died specifically for me.
I'd always found it a bit silly when people said Jesus died for them, specifically. There's a song that says something along the lines of, "If I were the only one, You still would have done it."
I never liked that song. I mean how can anyone know that? Maybe there was a cost/benefit analysis done, a certain number of people are worth it, perhaps? But one? Why would He do all that for one person.
Even as I type, He's reminding me of the parable of the lost sheep.
“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?" -Matthew 18:12
All this time, which hasn't been a super long time, I've believed that Jesus died on the cross and rose for everyone (myself included), but I never really believed it was for me. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but the difference is crucial because it changes everything.
Believing God loves humanity is easy for me. But believing Jesus would go through all of that: leave heaven, experience a separation He'd never known from the Father to come to this kinda ghetto place (it didn't start of ghetto, we did that), be betrayed by friends, be misunderstood, be accused, not be believed, and then the physical pain of scourging and the cross and in front of everyone- both human beings and spiritual enemies, and the spiritual pain...that's something I can't grasp. Something happened spiritually, He had to carry everything...the penalty of very bad things... and none of it was His.
Would He do that if it had been only me? Without realizing it, I'd rejected his personal action of love for me for a long time.
After that conversation I prayed for Him to help me make that leap of belief that His actions were personal because I couldn't on my own.
He showed me how by not believing this, it had caused me to try and earn His love through other means: through perfectionism, through other people. Anything to make up for throwing off this covering, so to speak. He'd shown me I'd spent a lot of time trying to make myself feel a clean-ness that could only come through a deeper and fuller belief in His sacrifice born out of a personal love.
While I was arguing with Him about why it didn't make sense and felt self-centered, first He reminded me that we don't think the same which actually is a relief because my thoughts are 70% cartoons/stickers/food/discomfort avoidance. *I wonder if when He talks to us it's how we feel trying to reason with a toddler? Fun at times, super cute. Exasperating at other times. Straight maddening at even other times.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Then He showed me one of my kids, the most spirited, we'll say. He asked me if there was anything my child could do, get into, mistakes made, that would prevent me from creating a way out if I had that power: a door to redemption. He showed me a door. A path. And asked me, even if there was a chance my child would not take it, would I not give myself up to create a way out of destruction for my own?
I said I would do it. Without question. I would do anything to give my own child even the smallest chance at life . Then He asked, "Are you a better parent than me?"
That's all it took for me to understand where my error had been. I know I'm not a better parent than God. There's proof in the ongoing laundry situation, my tone after 5pm, the fact that I use my air fryer more than any other kitchen device (and it's not to make salmon), and other things.
I began to pray for help to believe in His love more.
Over the next day and night, old things felt like they fell off of me and my heart opened in a way it had never. I felt a new sense of...I don't exactly have the word for it, but it feels like being accepted into a place of love that I didn't allow myself before.
I feel thankful.
I'm amazed at how God continues to work on us, helping us gently open our hands, tightened balled up fists holding on to the sharp things we've picked up from dangerous paths.
He's so gentle. And loving. It's a love I can't wrap my mind around and makes me wonder how deep it goes. An endless well, it must be, of blue deep water.
There's nothing in this earth like it.
My hope and prayer for you is that you experience His love because this world is a cold place without it. He's not like people. He doesn't change His mind about who He loves. He's the same in the morning as He is at night. He sits by you when you're by yourself and talks kindly. Sternly at times when needed, but never mean. And all you have to do is choose Him which is crazy. Love truly isn't very rational, but I'm grateful His is so perfect.
It is truly mind blowing to me, still. Anyway, I hope you're doing alright today. You're very much loved whether you feel it or not, it's true. I've found knowing is more important than feeling. Although both are ideal, knowing can bridge a gap when feelings get caught in a storm.
If you can't know or feel, ask Him to show you like I did.
love always, Bunmi