“Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1 ESV).
We have all probably heard someone say at some time, “God loves you.” And we may sometimes wonder, “Is that actually true? Does God really love me?”
Maybe you’ve been let down and sorely disappointed by people. Maybe someone said that he or she loved you and then turned against you. Maybe someone said that he or she was your closest friend, but ultimately betrayed you.
When it comes to God’s love, we tend to ask ourselves whether it is for real. We wonder whether He too will turn away from us if we let Him down. Jesus knew what it was like to be betrayed. As Jesus celebrated the Feast of the Passover with His disciples, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas to betray Him.
The other disciples didn’t stand by Jesus, either. They forsook Him, but He did not forsake them. They denied Him, but He did not deny them. He loved His own who were in the world, and He loved them to the end.
The story is told of a little boy who was troubled one night by a thunderstorm. He cried out from his room, “Daddy! I’m scared!”
The father responded, “Son, don’t worry. God loves you, and He will take care of you.”
The boy replied, “I know God loves me, but right now, I need someone with skin on.”
Jesus is God with skin on. Jesus is God demonstrating His love for His own.
I love the passage from the Book of Hebrews that speaks about God “going the distance” to relate to us in our weak humanity:
“Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying” (Hebrews 2:14–15 NLT).
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t treat us the way we so often treat Him? No matter what you do, no matter where you go, God will always love you.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.