I was reading a book called “Captivating” the other day, by John and Stasi Eldredge (and by that I mean I only got through about the first 30 pages…. I’m not much of a reader). It’s a book about the desires of a woman’s heart and how the Lord designed us, and sometimes I kind of liked it, but other times it just made me feel… I don’t know, weird and I didn’t like it. I don’t think that’s the way this book is supposed to make me feel… and who knows, maybe it would have gotten to a good point later in the book, but I didn’t really care to find out.
For most of the book (I mean, the small portion I sampled), Stasi talks about her love story with John. How special he made her feel and how it felt so nice to feel wanted. And all I kept thinking was “Well, ‘Stasi’ that must be nice. Must be nice for you.” But I’m not bitter.
While Stasi is unpacking what “the heart of a woman” looks like she discusses our need to feel rescued, wanted, romanced. To which I said, “Wrong again, Stase! I do NOT need no man to ‘rescue’ me, ok? Like no, I am just fine here thanks very much.” And then again, sometimes it would be nice if some big muscle-y man would just swoop in and pick me up (which would be interesting, I feel like I gained some weight over the holidays), and whisk me away to some faraway place (preferably a castle, if not we can just stay in my dorm at NKU).
But seriously, when I was reading, I was thinking like yes, I want to be married some day and I want to submit (ooh scary) to my husband and I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I want so much more than just to be “romanced.”
But then, I got to thinking about what my past relationships and almost-relationships have looked like. There wasn’t all that much “romancing.” I would just show up, he would be there, we’d talk, exchange numbers, maybs hang out some, probs kiss a little, and then he’d be gone before things got too serious. I have a history full of almosts and yes, regrets.
When people ask me how my semester went I tell them about classes, my grades, my new job and my wonderful friends. And when they ask about my love life (usually expecting an interesting story, I used to have all kinds of good stories to tell), I laugh and jokingly say, “Nah, nothing exciting. No one loves me.” And it is technically true… there is not a boy here right now who is in love with me.
And if my romantic relationships with earthly men were any indication of the way God feels about us, then I would understand why we shut him out. But the good news is that he loves us so incredibly, unbelievably, irresistibly much that he could never and would never treat you as poorly as some people on earth have treated you.
Recently, someone asked me about my love life, and I used my stock joke saying with a laugh, “oh, no one loves me.” And something happened. I have only heard God audibly a handful of times, but this time was one of my personal favorites. In a loud whisper I heard him say, “Caitlin… You can’t say that…. I love you. SO much.”
The greatest love story, the most wonderful romance of all time, is between us and our God. He always has your best interest in mind, and he never intends to hurt you. He intends to grow you, strengthen you, and help you become the person he created you to be. All because of how intensely he loves you.
Have you ever read John 3:16? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not parish but have eternal life.” If you grew up in church you have it memorized. I’ve heard it so many times that if I ever happen to be reading that part of scripture I probably skip over it… but then I was listening to a Podcast (yes, it’s hip these days) by Judah Smith, a preacher from Seattle.
He spoke of this verse in a way I’d never thought of it before. You see, this verse says “For God so loved the world.” Right off the bat we see that it isn’t about how much we love God, but about how much he loves us and he SO loves us. We could never love him enough to thank him for what he’s done for us, and we could never love him enough to deserve what he was done for us, but he SO loves us. He loves us so much that he sent his son to die for our sins. Because of Jesus, we can be forgiven, and we can gain eternal life.
But in the way we understand relationships, we think “No way, this can’t be good. God, I cannot hold up my end of the deal here. I need to fix myself up before we can get into this relationship. I’ve got all kinds of stuff to fix, and then we can be together, but I am not a good person. This will not be healthy for you if we get into this right now.” But that’s just it, God knew we wouldn’t hold up our end of the deal. He knew we couldn’t fix ourselves on our own. That is why he sent his own son to live a perfect life and die for our sins. Because we couldn’t do it, so God made a way for us that leads to forgiveness.
So, remember earlier when I said I didn’t need a man to rescue me….. Well the truth is I do. I need Jesus. I can’t do this life on my own, because I need Jesus. Have you ever felt like everything is going wrong? Your grades are sucking, your work sucks, your friends are boring, and nothing can make you feel better. I’ve been there, I have. And the only thing that ever makes it any better is when I think about how God loves me. He so loves me. Things will get better because His plan is better than mine, and all things work to the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
It sounds weird. It actually sounds crazy…. But that’s because it is. God SO loves you. So what do you say?