Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Are You The One Whom Jesus Loves?


"My dearest C.J., I am waiting for you still. Find a way back to me, my dearest friend. I love you always. Merridy."

She snuggled next to me as I read those words, and we both smiled.

This is the third book in the Growly Series, one she had been begging to read, and already we could feel the thrill of hope and the surge of excitement. Morning is a stirring fantasy filled with adventure, a perilous quest for love lost, and deep friendship, all in the most magical, imaginary setting. It is an enchanting bedtime read. 

As I closed the book, and led our evening prayers, she nestled even closer. 

"It's nice to be loved", she whispered, her eyes gleaming in the dark. 

"Yes, sweetheart, it is!"

And then she added, "And it's nice to love, as well." 

I beamed. Oh, the joys of bedtime conversations. 

As I lay there, treasuring these moments with my daughter, my mind wandered through the intricate maze of all love is.

I thought about my youngest brother. About my dad as he lay in hospital those final weeks... about the blessing he had spoken. 

"This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased." 

I had smiled then, and jokingly chided, "How come you haven't said that about me?" But, I had been deeply moved by the exchange between father and son, for I had seen the power of love in their lives... the empowering love of a father for his son and the self-sacrificing love of a son for his father. 

I had watched as my father believed in this son, valuing him highly and helping him to believe in himself, and I had witnessed my brother’s devotion to my dad and his selfless acts of service as he cared for him. All for love. 

Yes, it is good to be loved, and to love, as well. 


I thought about John, the beloved disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.

As I travelled through the pages of John’s gospel, I had wondered, "Was it arrogance that made John refer to himself like that - the disciple whom Jesus loved? Surely, he didn't imagine that Jesus loved him more than the others?" 

But the more I dwelled on his words, the more I noticed something... something special about John. I became more aware of his point of view... more sensitive of his perception of Jesus' love for him. I could almost feel it... the depth of his realization. 

I could sense his comfort... his abandon. The ease of a son with his father... a son who looks admiringly on his Father and who is delighted to be so loved by him. I could see it now. John knew Love... the love of Jesus... he claimed this love for himself... a love so real, so profound, and so personal that it defines you.

‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’

Who wouldn’t be attracted to a love like that? A love that calls you, accepts you, empowers you, and gives your life purpose and meaning. Fully accepted and totally assured, John felt loved enough.

Loved enough to always stay close.

It was John who leaned back on Jesus during the last supper. So close was he to his Savior that he could just lean on Him, perhaps even rest his head on His shoulder as he asked the tough question no one else dared to, “Who is it, Lord?” It was distressing enough to even imagine someone betraying his Lord, yet alone ask the question.

Loved enough to ask the tough questions and accept the answers.

It was John who followed Jesus everywhere, even to the unexplainable, uncomfortable, unimaginable places. To the Mount of Transfiguration, as Jesus dazzled them with His glory, to the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus wrestled in prayer and to the Place of the Skull, where darkness covered the earth. Right there at the foot of the cross, as Jesus gasped for air, struggling to breathe, it was to John that he entrusted the care of His mother. 

Loved enough to follow Him everywhere and to be trusted to care for the ones He loves.

It was John who received the Revelation of Jesus, a telling of what is to come, words that, even now, speak hope and purpose into our struggles.

Loved enough to share in His secret thoughts.

Have you ever been loved like that? Loved enough? With a love that satisfies? A deep, intimate, life-transforming love? 
enough - in a quantity or degree that answers a purpose or satisfies a need or desire (Dictionary.com)  
I think John felt it.

He knew the sacrifice Jesus made was for him. The decision Jesus made to gave up all that He had; to become a man despised by many; to endure an agonizing, humiliating death on a cross separated from His Father as He became sin for us; to trade His righteousness for our unrighteousness; to make a way back Home for us, lost and wandering far from God; I think John felt deep in his bones that it was all for him. 

Loved enough to die for.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

But it wasn’t just for John. It was for you... and for me.

Have you ever felt that love? John felt it profoundly and personally, and he never forgot it.


I think though, sometimes, I forget.

Sometimes, when I’m lost in the craziness of now, I forget that it was for me that Jesus died. I forget the love that always pursues me, and waits for me, that refuses to let me go.  The love that offers me a way back home.  Back to where I’m created to be. Back to being fully accepted and totally assured in a deep, intimate relationship with my Father. Back to loving because I am loved.

But I don’t want to forget. I want to remember. So I’ve given myself a little reminder and each time I twiddle the cross and the heart I wear around my neck, I remember. In the moments when I feel anything but loved and anything but loving, I  pause and remember. I remember that I am the ‘beloved of Jesus’. I remember that His love, wholly independent of my actions, has the power to transform me... to make me more like Him and to empower me to love Him and others sacrificially.

I’m not there yet, but the more I yield to His love the more I am filled with hope and delight and love.

So, just like C.J., in my daughter's new favorite series, we have someone waiting for us, loving us with a hope that never ceases, a love that's enough, but unlike C.J. we don't have to find a way back home ourselves... God has already given us the Way... we need only yield to His love. 

***************
What about you?

Do you truly know that you are the one whom Jesus loves?
Are you fully accepted and totally assured?
Or like me, do you sometimes forget?
What do you do on a daily basis to remember His love?

Perhaps take a moment to be reminded of who you are to God with
Jason Gray's 'Remind Me Who I Am'
I've just added it to the 'from dust towards the heavens' playlist. 
Hope you enjoy!


    With love,

Also sharing this post on Encouraging Word Wednesday over at MississippiMom.com


18 comments:

  1. Wonderful truth! I am the one who Jesus loves! Thank you for sharing! Visiting via Kelly's link up!

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    1. Nice to have you visit, Lil! May we always hold onto that truth! Blessings to you!

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  2. Yes, it is wonderful to be loved as Jesus loves us. Powerful!

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting Edith, and for your encouragement. I so enjoyed visiting your beautifully inspiring site. Blessings to you.

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  3. "Loved enough." I love the very the thought! Thank you for sharing these words! I would love for you to join us at <a href="http://mississippimom.com/encouraging-word-wednesday-the-bread-of-life/>Encouraging Word Wednesday</a>!

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    1. Thanks, Charlie! And thanks for the invite; I would be happy to join you! I had a peek at your site and I love it already. :)

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  4. I've never thought about John from this perspective. I love the points you made, that got me thinking. Beautiful post.

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    1. Thanks, Ginger! I'm glad you were blessed. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  5. John writes with a sensitive heart about love and our Savior, doesn't he? You make some great points and your graphics lift my soul! Thank you for reaching out and visiting me today.

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    1. Isn't it wonderful that we can visit like this! It was such a pleasure to meet you today! Thanks, my friend!

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  6. Sometimes i too forget that I am loved by Jesus. Thanks for the reminder it came just at the right moment. Your gift is a blessing.
    I may not comment all the time but I read and enjoy your blogs very much.
    May God continue to enlighten you!

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    1. So sweet to hear from you here, my friend. Your encouragement means a lot to me. Thanks for the words of blessing; may God be glorified. Hugs and smiles!

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  7. Thank you, Carlie. It's not always easy to grasp how much God loves me but John's example inspires me to embrace a God who loves me enough and completely. Thank you for being willing to share your words and lift our spirits.
    Blessings to you, my sister!

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  8. Thank you, my sister. Yes, I too have been inspired by John's example. Thanks for your encouragement.

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  9. Thank you for the sweet reminder of how very loved I am! How easy it is to forget! Beautiful, Carlie!
    Big hugs,
    Lori

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    1. Thanks, Lori! Sending smiles and hugs your way!

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  10. "Sometimes, when I’m lost in the craziness of now, I forget that it was for me that Jesus died. I forget the love that always pursues me, and waits for me, that refuses to let me go. The love that offers me a way back home. Back to where I’m created to be. Back to being fully accepted and totally assured in a deep, intimate relationship with my Father. Back to loving because I am loved." This resonated with me so much! I often forget that this type of love already exists in my life. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. Me too, Jada! I constantly need to be reminded. Thanks for visiting! I'm glad it blessed you.

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