Love That Never Hurts, Betrays, or Abandons Us

“The world today is hungry
Not only for bread
But hungry for love;
Hungry to be wanted,
Hungry to be loved.”
~ Mother Teresa ~

Is your heart aching when you think of Valentine’s Day? Did you lose loved ones recently? Or do you feel unwanted and unloved?

There are many legends surrounding the origin of Valentine’s Day, but many of us see it as a day set aside to show others we care and to remind them they are loved and appreciated.

It’s always a comfort to be remembered, but many will experience that ache of loved ones lost either by death or some other way, even after many years. Others feel all alone in the world and unloved with not even a memory of ever being loved.

Perhaps some of you carry a distorted view of what love is because of abuse or neglect, whether in the past or the present. I know I did. Often it takes time to heal and trust even God because of suffering devastating betrayal from someone we trusted. Because of someone who was supposed to value, nurture, and protect us instead of hurt us.

People can hurt, betray, or abandon us. But Jesus’ love is like a bottomless ocean. It will never, ever empty. It will always and forever remain faithful. It will always nurture, not hurt.

Jesus willingly took on the heavy burden of sin. Our sin and the sin of those who have hurt us. All our sins are washed away and all our hurts can be healed and redeemed through Jesus and the blood He shed for us. He willingly died in our place because He loves us so deeply. He suffered excruciating, unbearable pain as whips slashed His flesh and nails pierced his hands and feet. Unspeakable anguish as the Father withdrew His presence. He was forsaken by God so we would never have to be forsaken. Incomprehensible, immeasurable, immutable love. So beyond our understanding that it can never be understood by our human minds. So infinite it can never be measured. So firmly established that it will never change.

“Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13

heartoflove

What Is Love?

by Helen Steiner Rice

What is love? No words can define it—
It’s something so great
only God could design it.
For love means much more
than small words can express,
For what we call love is very much less
Than the beauty and depth
and the true riches of
God’s gift to mankind—
His compassionate love.

God Loves and Understands

by Helen Steiner Rice

It’s amazing and incredible,
But it’s as true as it can be,
God loves and understands us all
And that means you and me–
His grace is all sufficient
For both the young and old,
For the lonely and the timid,
For the brash and for the bold–
His love knows no exceptions,
So never feel excluded,
No matter what your past has been,
Trust God to understand,
And no matter what your problem is
Just place it in His Hand–
For in all of our unloveliness
This great God loves us still,
He loved us since the world began,
And what’s more, He always will!

No Greater Love
by Colton Dixon

“What kind of love would stand in the flames
And choose to remain there beside me?
What kind of love would go to the grave
Give up everything just to find me?
Of all the treasure that this world would offer me
You’re the only thing I need…

Your love is never changing
Your love will always be my home
And though this world will fail me
Your love will never let me go
No greater love
No greater love
No greater love
Than Yours…”

“May your roots go down deep
into the soil of God’s marvelous love;
and may you be able to feel and understand,
as all God’s children should,
how long, how wide, how deep,
and how high His love really is.”
Ephesians 3:17b-18 TLB

When the Burden of Grief Makes Gratitude Harder

Thank you for your prayers concerning the tragedy I wrote about in last week’s post. We appreciated it so much! Though Tad opens his eyes, he is not allowed company right now. All the nurse would tell our son is that he gets very agitated when he gets visitors, and that’s not good for him. So we don’t know too many details of his condition, but we are so afraid he will have some lasting brain damage. We continue to pray for his healing.

Yesterday morning was a funeral for a young husband and father, only 33 years old. Three small children, 5-year-old twin boys and a 3-year-old girl, will not grow up with their devoted dad. The wife is a granddaughter of the couple that live across the hall from us.

The day after my neighbor heard about the loss of a granddaughter’s husband, she had to take her husband to hospice because of cancer.

Do you ever get overwhelmed by all the suffering and death there is in this world? It’s hard, isn’t it?

I know some of you readers are personally dealing with the death of family or friends only recently and will be experiencing your first Thanksgiving and Christmas without them. It will be so difficult to have missing places among you. May God give you strength!

There are others of you whose loss I don’t know about, whether a loved one, a relationship, or a loss of who you really are.

Maybe you have no family to share these days with. Or your families are so dysfunctional that it devastates you and fills you with anxiety to get together.

Whatever your loss and however alone or misunderstood you may feel, I am so sorry. But infinitely more sorry than I am is our God who knows, cares, and understands. Even when grief clouds our vision and it’s hard to grasp that truth, it is still the truth. Even when life changes drastically for us, He never changes. He is faithful. Even if we sometimes have a hard time being grateful, we are still precious to Him and He will never leave us.

Someday when we can look back to the times of great sorrow, we will see one set of footprints in the sand. It was in those times that He carried us. Thank You, God, for Your unconditional love, Your never-ending compassion, and Your unchanging faithfulness!

“Because of the Lord’s
great love we are not consumed,

    for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

I hope to be back here the first Tuesday of December.

Footprints In the Sand
by Leona Lewis

Jesus Longs For Us to Find Refuge Under His Wings of Love

Courtesy of Heartlight
“Like a bird protecting its young,
God will cover you with His feathers,
will protect you under His great wings;
His faithfulness will form a shield around you,
a rock-solid wall to protect you.”
Psalm 91:4 VOICE

God often uses birds as an analogy of His loving care and protection over us. When an April snowstorm hit us, I watched a visible sign of this truth. A house finch pair already had a nest outside my office window. It was amazing to see how they kept the eggs warm and did not leave them to find shelter for themselves. The eggs did hatch and the parents faithfully fed, cared for, and protected them. If the little ones needed more warmth or were afraid, they snuggled more deeply under the wings of their mother.

Birds will sacrifice their own lives to keep their young ones safe. I once heard a story of a mother bird whose blackened and dead body was found by rangers after a forest fire. One of them bumped her body with a stick and out popped three little chicks alive and well. She could have flown to safety, but she remained to protect her beloved young and give her life for theirs.

Though a bird will give its life for its young, there are times when it has no power against much stronger enemies. That will never happen with God. He is invincible. There is no enemy too strong for Him. We can always find refuge under His Almighty wings of safety in the storms of life. 

And there will be storms, because we are part of this sinful, fallen world. As long as we are on this earth, physical, mental, and emotional losses in various forms will continue to cause heart-rending grief, anxiety, and fear.

We all need a Shelter, a Refuge, a Safe Savior in these storms.

Jesus mourns when we don’t choose to find refuge underneath His loving, shielding wings. When Jerusalem rejected Jesus and His love, He wept (Luke 19:41). He voiced His sorrow in Luke 13:34b:

“How often I have longed to
gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings,
and you were not willing.”

Jesus longs for us to find refuge under His wings of love and safety. He longs for us to believe He willingly gave His life for us to rescue us from sin, eternal death, and Satan. He longs for us to take it to heart that He loves us so much that He suffered an excruciating death for us to keep us safe.

Yes, it’s hard to trust there is safety under His wings if our trust has been horribly betrayed or if we are so confused about what love really is. It took me many years to believe I can trust Him. To believe His intentions toward us are always honorable and life-giving, not hurtful and life-taking.

Even if we hesitate to take shelter beneath His loving wings, He never stops loving us or caring about us. His wings are always open, entreating us to find refuge in Him. His patience knows no end!

Lord, thank You for loving us so much and longing for us to take shelter in You. Please help us to trust You with all our hearts. Take away all the roadblocks that keep us from fleeing to find refuge in You. Take away all the trust issues we may have in our hearts. Take away all our self-sufficiency. Please help us to snuggle underneath Your wings of loving care with all our restlessness, anxiety, and fear. Help us to picture Your protective wings around us whenever we step forward into places or situations that make us feel so afraid and untrusting but yet will help us on the road to healing the brokenness within us. Help us to be dependent on You and Your all-sufficient grace in whatever struggles we go through in this life. Thank You that Your wings of love and safety are invincible.

Your Wings
by Lauren Daigle