9/12/15 Val about 30
“I just find it hard to believe that God loves me” said Val, an immigrant from the Ukraine who had attended a Baptist Church there in his childhood. We had been talking for a long time in a parking lot after I had reached out to him with the Gospel. How should I respond to a statement like that? Should we not all just assume God loves us? But this is a loaded statement. The Bible says “God so loved the world”, but does He love us individually? Does He love us because of who we are or in spite of who we are? I had talked with Val long enough to know of some of his redeeming qualities that might cause God to love him, but is that the point of the Gospel, that God just can’t help but love us because we are so loveable? Or does He choose to love us in spite of ourselves? Val had already told me he understands and believes he is a sinner and that Christ died to take the punishment for his sins in his place. So at this point what do we mean when we ask whether or not God loves us? Is not the cross evidence enough? “We all want to feel like we deserve to be loved, that we have done something to earn it” I told Val. “But the truth is, we do not deserve God’s love because of our many sins against Him. We deserve punishment. Yet to all who receive him, who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God. Jesus told His followers to pray to Him as our Father. We are His children through faith in Jesus, not because we deserve His love but because He chooses to love us in spite of our sins.” Yes, God’s love is evident at the cross, but it is also a part of what it means to be adopted into His family, to be a child of God. I think that was especially meaningful for Val, as his father had left the family when he was young. Then again, maybe that’s why the Father’s love was hard to trust in. Maybe that’s why I was sent into that parking lot with a message for Val today.