Most of you who follow my posts know that I am passionate about my faith in God and salvation through Jesus (Yeshua). You are also aware of how imperfect I am. Today, I want to share with you about one of the questions that has most filled my being. It is a question that I often ask when I fail, when I am certain God should give up on me, and when I finally realize – one more time – that no, God will not give up on me.
God – Why do you love me?
My question starts small. It is: God, why do you love me?
It’s a simple question really, and I suppose we have all asked it at one time or another. But for me, the question is deeper than that. The minute I ask this question, it begs for another, bigger question. “God, why do you love humankind? Why did you create us, knowing how we would hurt you and each other?”
I remember asking a pastor that question and he shook his head. “I’ve often asked that question myself,” he replied. “I’ve come to the conclusion that He must have thought it was worthwhile.” He went on to explain that this thought satisfied him.
It didn’t satisfy me though. It may be true, but I wanted something deeper. Perhaps that desired was rooted in a core belief that I battle deep down inside, that God could not possibly really love me. Maybe others, but not me. I know this is a lie from the evil one. Every time I get back into reading scripture, I am comforted by the words of Jesus and remined that He will never stop loving me, and that I am eternally His.
And yet, that question has haunted my darkest nights.
What does a foreign film have to do with my question?
Recently, I’ve started watching foreign films on Netflix. It seems like that is the only programming worth watching. I’ve been deeply impressed by a series filmed in South Korea in 2011, called “Heaven’s Garden.”
On the surface, it sounds like a soap opera. Basically, it’s the story of a woman, Jung Jae In, who is separated from her husband. She has no other options and is forced to move back to her hometown in the countryside with her two daughters and live with her father. One of her daughters is actually a step-daughter, Eun Soo, who was not wanted by her birth mother. Hence, the only mother she has ever known was Jung Jae In.
But the program is a lot deeper than that. While there is plenty of drama, the episodes challenge on every level, emotionally and spiritually, with the fruit of our choices, and how we live with them. Still an episode I watched took me by surprise and brought me answers that I am still pondering.
An adopted daughter asks her step-mother, “Why do you love me.”
Eun Soo had once searched for her birth mother, only to be cruelly rejected by her. But now, her birth mother has asked to see her. Eun Soo had not wanted to go, but circumstances cause her to change her mind. I found the answer in the video clip posted below.
This scene occurs after she returns from visiting her birth mother. She is telling her step-mother (hereinafter, mother) about the experience. You will come in as Eun Soo explains that her birth mother wanted her to stay longer. (The captions could be in slightly better English, but I believe you will understand.)
Please watch it and see if you can discover what I did. I’ll explain below. (If you cannot see it, please click this link: https://youtu.be/Ceuluw6AIu4).
“A reason for loving you would only exist if I had to force myself to love you.”
While the actual caption reads a bit differently, the mother basically answered her daughter’s question in this way, “A reason for loving you would only exist if I had to force myself to love you.”
As I heard these words, I felt like I was hearing the whispers of God in my heart, Now do you understand?
I am astounded and still weeping at the wonder of the love of God. The Greek word, agape, barely begins to touch on the depth of the meaning of His love for you and I. John the Apostle said it best in 1 John 4, “God IS love.”
I don’t know about you but I’ve heard this so much that I don’t think I’ve ever truly comprehended it before. You see, God does not have to force Himself to love us. Whether or not He wanted to love us was never a consideration. Just the thought of us, resulted in a passionate love that is beyond our comprehension.
I suddenly realized that in that eternal split second when God contemplated creation – the very nature of His being, which is love, did not ask a single question about the hows, the whys, the wherefores. In that split second of consideration – you and I, the sacrifice of Jesus to ensure our salvation, the very creation of a world suitable for this deeply loved humanity – all of it – was a done deal!
Love is a characteristic integral to God
I realized that every single aspect of who God is, that make Him who He is, is an integral part of His being. God does not have to try to be holy. He is holy. God does not have to try to be just and righteous. He is just and righteous. And God does not have to try to love. He is love!
Eun Soo’s response should be our response to God, “Thank you for loving me so much.”
Like Eun Soo, when I consider my love for God, I have often confessed, “My love for you can’t be compared to your love.” But in making that statement I have made a mistake. I have thought that because my love can’t come close to God’s love – that it was worthless. Eun Soo and her mother’s reaction woke me up: God is pleased with whatever little bit of love we can give Him. He already knows that our love will never come close to His love. But He is OK with that and is looking forward to having us with Him for eternity, so that we can discover forever – the wonders of His love.
God’s jealousy is a good thing
There is so much more in this scene. Eun Soo also marvels at her mother’s creative work on her behalf, her tears, and her jealousy for her. Suddenly she understands, her mother is just trying to create a safe place for her to grow in. A place where she can be all that she was made to be.
So often we read in the Old Testament about God being a jealous God. We look at His anger, and we wonder, where is the God of love? He is there, yearning for each of us. Longing for us to turn around – to Him – because He really does know what is best for us.
As the scene closes, Eun Soo promises her mother that she will never leave her. Her mother responds, “You’d better not leave. But if you do, I’ll find you wherever you go.”
God loves you because – that is who He is!
As I close this post, I am overwhelmed anew at the wonder of God’s love. He will never leave or forsake us, and He truly has done everything to provide us with a life that begins now and overflows into eternity.
There is something awesome about this physical life we are living. While sin has separated us from God, He is still pursuing us. All we have to do is stop running from Him and maybe, like me, stop asking Him WHY He loves us. He just does, because that is who He is. I hope that you, like me, find joy in that answer.
Video Credit: Heaven’s Gate (2011), Season 1, Episode 10.