10 Ways God Loves You More Than You've Ever Realized

Originally published Wednesday, 08 June 2016.

I remember the excitement when I was a kid. I would sit on the stairs, tapping my feet. I knew what laid on the other side of the wall was the best stuff ever. I could hardly contain myself. I wanted to bust right into it. I wanted to be immersed in everything over there.

There was always the wait, though. Wait for the pictures to be taken. Wait for the parents to get coffee. Wait to learn more about Jesus.

Sometimes, I feel like this is how life is. I want to burst right into joy. But, there is this wait. There is a wait for life to happen. There is a wait for others to improve. There is a wait so that I can learn more about Jesus through my daily life.

I guess I want to live life like Christmas, where at some point Jesus flings wide the heavenly gates and I run out surrounded by all his best things. Where they stack so high, they nearly touch the sky and I just fall back on them, breathing deep, saying, "I've arrived."

The weird thing is, in a way, it is Christmas all around me. Jesus was born to bring, "Joy to the World," so don't I already have it?

Maybe, I am much like a girl with roaming eyes. One who already has every good thing under the tree, but  is more concerned with what her sister got, or with what she doesn't appear to have, than all the goodness laid out for her.

Maybe I miss it.

Does God whisper, "...If only she would see, she already has everything she needs for joy."

Or maybe he would say, "If you'd open the abundance of my love,
you could walk through the mayhem of the life with joy."

Or, if he got really straightforward, he might declare,
"Look around you child, all I got left for you is love.
Your gifts are so full under your tree of life that your joy won't be contained."

I stand on my tippy-toes to see.

I see 10 things that encourage me:

1. God's affection lasts for me - forever. Every. Single. Time. It is good. (Psalm 100:5)

2. His love, uncontaminated and unblemished, knocks fear, discontentment and inner turbulence to the curb. (1 Jo. 4:18)

3. He adores me, he wants me, he reaches towards me - in complete purity. I am his loved daughter (1 Jo. 3:1)

4. He doesn't love only sometimes, a little, on occasion, randomly, now and then, no. He loves lavishly. (1 Jo. 3:1)

5. He saw my pain, my suffering, my injury. He saw yours. He essentially said, "Those ones, I love them so much, I will die for them." (Ro. 5:8)

6. His son came and felt the ugly of the world. He nearly cries with our cries. He understands our turmoil. (1 Jo. 4:9)

7. He gives us the right to eat from the tree of life, in paradise. Christmas may have made us feel loved, but paradise is exuberance on a new level. (Rev. 2:7)

8. He chooses me, not because I am great, but because he is good. Even more, he has good, good plans to use me for his glory. (1 Pet. 2:9)

9. He won't let anyone, no way, no how, snatch us out of his hand. We are his and he wants us. (Jo. 10:28)

10. He takes us and makes us more than ourselves, making us more and more holy, until we look a whole lot like him. (Jo. 10:28)

When I step back, and get the long range view at this picture, what I see is not a stack of earthly wonders. I see spiritual wonders that make my heart say, "God, you are wonderful." They make me want to dance because I no longer need to shoulder guilt, anxiety, regrets, retaliation and discouragement.  Love unloads all that - and joy has space to sit.

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