“I don’t get it,” said “Courtney,” a young woman seeking to recover from childhood sexual abuse. “If I don’t love myself because of the stuff I know about myself, how can God love me if He knows everything about me?”
She swiped a tear from her cheek.
Courtney was part of a small group of college-aged women seeking help from past trauma. These courageous young women were learning to connect the dots between what had happened to them and their low self-worth and relational challenges.
On this particular night, each hit an emotional wall. Though they believed God loved them on an intellectual level, it was another matter for that truth to drop from each woman’s head to her heart.
Each woman had bought the lie that she was damaged goods, unworthy of love. Each woman struggled to grasp how God could truly love her.
It’s a common dilemma, isn’t it? How many of us fail to comprehend—more importantly, accept and embrace—the love of God?
Father, help me, I prayed silently. Give me wisdom to help them accept Your acceptance.
Inspiration came. I turned to my daughter-in-law and co-leader.
“When Lainey was born,” I asked, referring to Jamé’s 10-month-old baby girl, “What could she do for you?”
Jamé smiled and shook her head. “Nothing,” she replied.
“But she did mess her diapers, right?” I pressed. “And she cried a lot, even at night when you were exhausted?”
“She still does,” Jamé laughed.
“Since she can’t do a thing for you, and she is so messy and noisy and needy,” I said, “Why do you love her?”
Jamé thought for a moment, then beamed.
“Because… she’s mine.”
I turned to the girls and told them one at a time, “God says ‘You’re mine…You’re mine … You’re mine.”
The light of revelation began to dawn in each woman’s eyes.
We read from Psalm 139:
“You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain….
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
I shared how, even before these young women were born, God planned, designed and carefully crafted each one of these women. He loved them as zygotes and embryos and fetuses, long before they ever entertained the twisted notion that they somehow needed to earn His love.
They already bore His image even then. They already delighted His heart. And nothing in their lives or circumstances—nothing—would change that.
Then we read Psalm 131:1-2:
“My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”
“You’ll never figure out God’s love,” I explained. “Love is crazy. It makes no sense. It simply is. All you can do is quiet your spirit and accept it.”
I related to them a time when I struggled with understanding how my husband could love me. I could be such a jerk sometimes. How on earth could he put up with me?
Scott had said to me, “Maybe my love for you and my delight in you isn’t your deal. Maybe it’s my business, and all you can do is receive it.”
Those wise words reflect exactly how God feels about us.
Before we closed our meeting, I had the group read Ephesians 3:17-19:
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Here’s the thing: when we embrace the sanctity of human life, we embrace the full reality of God’s unconditional love toward us.
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When we understand that His love for us is already there the moment two unique cells come together and our life is sparked into being, we gain clarity about the width and length and height and depth of the love of Christ.
God doesn’t wait until a preborn baby is in the second trimester before He wholeheartedly loves that little one. He doesn’t put off delighting in him or her until halfway through the pregnancy, or until birth.
He doesn’t wait until we grow up and do good works for Him in order to lavish His love on us.
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us… and while we were yet in the womb, our Abba Father loved us.
This is the great and marvelous truth which embracing the sanctity of human life helps you grasp: At your weakest, most vulnerable moment, before any human being could have recognized you as a person—let alone seen you as attractive or desirable—even then, God delighted in you.
Believing in the sanctity of human life answers the question, How could He love me?
He loves you because you are His.