Imagine you are hiking in the mountains and you slip off the edge of a cliff. You grab hold of a bush with your hands, but you’re now dangling over hundreds of feet below. You’re safe for the moment, but you can’t hold on for long. You must have help that is immediate, good, and adequate.
Now suppose help appears. Someone reaches down and says, “Take my hand, and I’ll pull you up“. Will you do it? The answer depends on the helper. Suppose it’s someone you deeply offended at one time. He may be strong enough to help, but will he? Or suppose it’s a ten year old Boy Scout with 20 merit badges. You know he will do everything in his power to help, but does he have enough strength? What will persuade you to trust the help offered? You must be convinced of the good will, reliability, and strength of the helper.
All of us are holding on to something or things we think gives meaning and substance to our lives. It may be our addiction. But sooner or later our hold on those things weakens because they don’t solve our crisis.
The Apostle Paul says the love of Jesus Christ is good enough, strong enough, and durable enough to hold our lives together. In Ephesians 3:16-19 he prays that we be rooted and grounded in that love – like a deeply planted tree or well-founded building that cannot be shaken. And he prays that we will be able to comprehend how wide, long, high, and deep this love is — that we will come to know the love of Christ in such personal ways that it will motivate us to live the life He meant for us to live.
God’s love is concrete and personal. It delivers us, lifts us up, and sustains us. We don’t earn it, or stir it up by some goodness or by being loveable enough. It comes to us even though we’re imperfect and sinful. Think of how Jesus treated sinners. He appointed the Samaritan woman as his first missionary. She went back to her town and told the people about Jesus, and many believed because of her testimony. He defended the woman who anointed him with expensive perfume by saying, “wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” He restored Peter to leadership after denying him three times. Mary Magdalene, of whom seven demons had been cast out, he honored as the first witness of His resurrection. And the prodigal son was given a welcome home party.
It’s difficult to believe you’re worth anyone’s love, least of all the almighty God’s. Yet, with all the wrongs in your past, the mistakes, the detours, the moments of sin and selfishness, God loves you. No mistake we make in life disqualifies us from God’s love because nothings can separate us from His love. So lay hold of this staggering, mind-blowing truth that God loves you just as you are, not as you should be. And let that motivate you to become the whole, integrated, connected person He created you to be.