A night of pain. Laying awake, in too much pain to sleep. Unwelcome thoughts flooding in whenever the pain subsides. Remembering other such nights. Realizing that this will not be the last.
Those nights have come less frequently over the last couple years, but they still come. As I’ve faced pain, what I believe has become hugely important to me. I believe that God loves me. Even in the hardest times, I can be sure of His love for me.
I remember the first time someone told me that God loves me. I was a struggling high schooler, overwhelmed by life. My camp director had noticed me. She took time to talk with me and pray for me. At the end of our conversation she looked in my eyes and said, in all sincerity, “Helen, God loves you.” I didn’t ever want to forget that moment. From then on, I clung to her words.
Yet there were times when I was couldn’t see God’s love. My journal entries from a few years ago are full of questions… What is love? What does it mean that God loves me? The suffering I was facing forced me to define what I believe. When life was hard, could I still believe those words: “God loves you”? For a while, I thought I couldn’t. Why should I believe what I couldn’t prove? Then a friend showed me the ultimate proof of God’s love for me. God had sent Jesus Christ to die in my place and rise from the dead so that I could have an eternity filled with joy. It took a couple years for me to understand the significance of what I had heard. I would enjoy having an easy eighty or ninety years on earth; but I will enjoy spending a joyful eternity in heaven far more! I had wanted God to prove His love by giving me an easy life here. He has given me more than enough proof by offering me the best gift possible: a perfect life in heaven. So, when life gets rough, or my pain is overwhelming, I remember those simple words, “God loves you,” and I am comforted.
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