How many times have you heard it? "God doesn't love you any more or any less, no matter what you do." It's a near truth I've heard my whole life, but somehow, functionally, haven't believed. I know it, but there's still the biting feeling that from time to time, I let God down. I don't feel as though I measure up to what He desires for me, or "walk in His plans" for me, and He's disappointed.
If you're like me, the problem isn't preliminary, fear-based good behavior, so much as later sadness in 'failure'. The feeling of lost love for being anything less than perfect has seeped into nearly every area of my life over the years, and only recently have I discovered what a lie I've been living.
A few months ago, smack dab in the middle of seasonal depression, I called my sweet friend in tears. I didn't know what I was sad about, or why I was crying, or why I even called. I just needed to feel like I was with someone. She stayed on the phone, neither of us saying much, just being there, until she spoke up and changed my world. "When you go through these seasons, it lets me love you. I suddenly feel God's heart for you in your brokenness and I understand a new, deeper level of His love."
I'm sorry, WHAT?
At first, I couldn't accept it as truth. If anything, I thought, she understands a new level of annoyance. Seriously, who calls someone just to cry? But then I reversed the roles. Something that's all too easy to forget. You can think you're a bother, until you ask yourself how you feel when she calls crying. It's far from annoyance. Much closer to thankfulness. A vulnerability that leads to a deeper understanding of love, and particularly God's love, for that person. And the more you understand God's love for that person, the more you understand His love for you, and the more you understand that while that first statement is nearly true, it should read "God can't love you any more or any less".
This is the real game changer. God's love isn't given in quantity. It's a type of love that just is. It is for you. It pursues you. It sacrifices everything. And it runs so deep, we'll spend our entire lives trying to understand it. This Easter, we'll hear a lot about how Jesus loved us "so much" that He died for us, but I think it's the slightest bit off. It wasn't the quantity of love that caused Him to give His life - it was the quality. It's the type of love that He is. And it's why it's enough for everyone. Despite what we've done or haven't done. It's not a measurement. It's a substance.