It’s all coming to me now, cascading like cool waterfalls and awakening every fiber of my being. As I continue to walk closely with the Lord in this hard season of my life, ever receptive to His voice speaking, guiding, teaching — He leads me through narrower paths and deeper waters of faith. As I yield myself to His ever-patient molding, re-forming, and renewing, I find myself swimming above the waters instead of drowning. He enriches my faith, my obedience, my love, my hope, and there is an abiding light in my otherwise dim world.
I sat down at the edge of the bed maybe to switch on the lamp or reset my docked iPod (I can’t be sure now), but in that moment, His words came, and my hand, whatever it was reaching for, stopped in mid-air. He got my attention and I wondered, really wondered, how I could have missed it all this time. All these years. Maybe that’s what self-absorption does to us (or some other). It lulls us to spiritual slumberland and shuts out His voice.
Every time you wallow in envy, jealousy, comparison, covetousness, self-pity, resentment, bitterness, even unforgiveness, you have not abided in My love. As long as you abide in them, you will not know the fullness of My love. You will always feel unloved or loved less. For these things happen to one who has not My love nor has known it. This breaks My heart, for everything that I had done, I did it because of My love for you.
This, more or less, was the essence of the Lord’s message in that moment of epiphany.
The times that I had indulged myself with those negative emotions, being weak to totally fend them off, but succumbing to them time and again, had me living outside of love. More importantly, outside of the Savior’s love. And this was what really stopped me dead in my tracks: Every time I had dwelt in them, I had unconsciously spurned His love for me. For if I had been fully abiding in His love, carefully holding every drop of it safe in my bosom, there wouldn’t have been reason to feel those things, let alone revel in them like I had all the reasons in the world to do so. Whether it was done unconsciously or not, or in moments of weakness or deep anguish, it had some tinge of rebellion to it. But this isn’t the life the Lord has called me to.
In the early months after my salvation, I was euphoric. The Savior has delivered me from an adulterous life. I imagined Him thundering to the gates of hell and snatching me from its clutches before it was too late. When I thought of the many opportunities the devil could have plunged me to my death as being unsaved yet, BUT the Savior never allowed it — I was overwhelmed by His great love.
When did I begin to equate His love (or seeming lack of it in my limited understanding and vision) to sickness and suffering, to unhealing, to hardships, to misery, to sorrow, to unfulfilled dreams, to unanswered prayers? I think it was the time I didn’t receive answer to my most urgent prayer — my healing and deliverance from suffering — and countless times after that as the years flew away swiftly, like falling leaves in autumn, and still without receiving the healing I was so desperately begging for.
Then began the years that I lived like His child who was loved less, favored less, the one who wasn’t deserving of a miracle as grand as healing of a grievously broken body. More like a sooty Cinderella that tended the cinders rather than a beloved princess – daughter of the King of kings. I gravitated towards intense feelings of envy and jealousy to those whom I saw His favor heaped upon, not realizing these were already taking root in my soul.
However, I saw also that God had been faithful in other areas of my life and continues to be so to this day. That is why gratitude has not left my heart neither have my lips withheld praise and thanksgiving. I’ve lost count of the many testimonies to His enduring mercies which I hold close to my heart.
Nevertheless, the ceaseless pounding of illness and suffering on my already battered body had somehow shrouded God’s love for me. Even Apostle Paul’s exhortation on Christ’s love had not been able to appease my sorrowing heart.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:35, 37, 38, 39)
I knew and believed without a doubt that whatever happened in this life, the Lord would take me to His dwelling place, where there’s no more crying nor sickness and suffering. I believed that nothing could snatch me out of His hand as He assures His children. But I couldn’t help but see the sufferings in my life as God’s punishments, or to put it mildly, His chastisements. I don’t know when I started to develop that mindset but it had taken deep roots through the years that when my illness and suffering intensified, I cowered in fear of Him and saw only His severity.
I understand that God chastises or disciplines His children when they err or become wayward. It is another token of His love (see Heb. 12:6-7). But though it wasn’t the case for me, through the years, I felt like I lived in an atmosphere of constant chastisements and less-than love. It was hard to reconcile my harrowing reality with the truth that He loved me completely. It was a challenge to experience His love, let alone bask in it.
But He made me realize that I need not live like this.
So now, I’m coming a long way from that place of believing I was being severely punished to that place called love where my Savior dwells. There is a need for me to relearn His truths, to listen well to the Holy Spirit’s voice: God is not punishing me (the Lord Jesus Christ had already borne all that). I am relearning to see my Savior in a new light: one who loves me and delights to give me eternal life. I am making baby steps toward that love, a love that nurtures and heals and binds up and never strikes or harms (crying now).
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart… (Is. 40:11).
Live loved. What does it look like? It’s peace and quiet rest, security and confidence; untainted joy; generous kindness and gentleness. It’s a child basking in the warmth of her Father’s unfailing love.
Live loved, dear one. It’s the will of the Father for us. Anything less is from the devil. Our Savior died on the cross to prove His love for us. There’s no greater love than His. And nothing can ever separate us from it.
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Journey with Jesus,