Accepting Love

It’s fascinating to me how people who have the world and everything it holds at their fingertips often seem like the most miserable people in the world. They literally have access to just about everything they could ever want…

except joy…

contentment…

peace.

Why is that?

I hate to bring the subject up because it’s been over-talked about, but this year’s Oscars put this observation on display. I won’t tell the story again, you can google it if you have somehow missed out on the news. However, I will add my two cents to the mix.

As a woman who has been bald because of treatments to fight a deadly disease — treatments that caused physical weakness and extreme pain for days on end after a session — I imagine I would have “oo rah”ed the joke and flexed my barely there muscles. I would have responded to it as the silly remark it was meant to be.

But that’s just me.

I get that not everyone can handle life’s inconveniences and hardships with a sense of humor. I’ve simply had good training in that particular area. Of course, I’m not living my life in the spotlight for the whole world to see — I’m sure that adds a little pressurized twist to any equation.

I would, however, be mortified if I wasn’t physically in harm’s way and my husband hit someone in the name of defending me. That wouldn’t be an act of love in my eyes. I’m rather appalled by the amount of people who think otherwise, especially since there seems to be so much more at play in that particular scenario.

If, by chance, a joke hurt my feelings and made me wince, I would expect my husband to reach out to me. To hold my hand. To put his arm on my shoulders. To wink. To blow a kiss my way. Anything he could do to encourage me. Not smack somebody because they said something rather benign in good fun and without malice.

I wish Mr. Smith well. I really, really do. He got me through dialysis. The Fresh Prince of Belair was on for an hour everyday I was sitting in that dang chair. That and Beverly Hills 90210. Not the greatest shows on earth, but entertaining enough for a couple of hours to ignore and endure — except for that one day when my dialysis machine exploded, but that’s a whole other story.

Will Smith holds a little tender spot in my heart just for that. He’ll never know. I do wonder though if he has any idea how much God loves him? There’s a sadness to him that suggests he doesn’t.

Unfortunately, he’s not the only one.

I’m convinced one of the biggest problems we humans, rich and poor alike, have is that we in no way comprehend whatsoever God’s great love for us. We will literally believe anything — ANYTHING — except that God loves us with an everlasting, deep love. It’s so hard to grasp. If we do choose to believe, actually accepting and living in that immense love often seems beyond us.

I had an unusual experience recently. It’s hard to explain how it came about and its impact on me, but in short, I heard this song — a Garth Brooks song, so incredibly ironic considering how not a fan I am of country music — that hit my soul hard at just the right moment.

It’s not the greatest lyrically, but the tenderness of the song “To Make You Feel My Love” brought me to tears. I must have listened to it at least 100 times now and it still gets to me. The lyrics, in part, are:

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue…

There ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love

At the time, I was in a bit of a funk, exhausted beyond measure, and in need of encouragement and strength. It’s almost as if God reached into the moment to say, I have done and am doing this for you. I have held you and will continue to hold you for a million years, you will feel My love. I will wipe away all your tears with My love. Jesus did go hungry, he was beaten, scourged, crucified, took on our sins, resurrected — all so we could know His love.

There ain’t nothing I wouldn’t do to make you feel my love

For the first time, I latched onto a small inkling of God’s tenderness towards me — something I often miss seeing because this life has a tendency to be a bit on the difficult side.

Unfortunately, on some subconscious level, especially since life can be so strenuous, we dismiss His heart toward us because we simply cannot accept that kind of love for ourselves. It may be humble to say how undeserving we are, but is it right to keep Him at arm’s length because we are not good enough?

As I listened to the song repeatedly, a couple of questions popped up that caused some serious contemplation — how can I love Him back if I don’t truly, really, actually accept that I am loved to begin with? Despite how little I may deserve such love, if I am unable to accept that His love for me is freely given, isn’t that rejecting Him?

It was worth some pondering.

I continue to play the Garth song several times a day as a reminder that I am tenderly and genuinely loved. A day may come when I don’t need to listen to it, but for now, especially as I am rising up out of a period of physical exhaustion, I need to hear it. Over and over.

If you struggle to accept God’s love, you are not alone. I honestly think it’s a hurdle all of us have trouble getting over. May I offer a suggestion? Pray God would show you personal evidence of His great love for you — something that makes sense to you alone and gives you something to hang onto when you’re feeling less than lovable. Pray it as often as you need. And wait. He’ll let you know somehow, some way.

what do you think?

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