More than 45 years ago I sat on a bench on the college campus I attended. I had some time in the day between classes and needed some time to talk to God, to work through some things I was struggling with.
What I was struggling with was the love of God. Knowing my own heart and what I was like I couldn't imagine that God could love me. I didn't understand the love of God and needed to know, really know God's love in a clear way. I needed to know if he loved me.
I prayed (a silly prayer really) and asked, "God, let me see people through your eyes, let me see them the way you do." And, to my surprise he answered that prayer. In the minutes that followed I watched people walk by and saw them as God did, at least in a small way, I don't think I could have handled the full awareness of his love, but what he let me see was overwhelming. I wept as each one passed.
And then, she came by. She was a friend of mine, her name is Evelyn. I saw her in that moment as God saw her and I cried out to God, "stop, please stop, it's too much!" I wept over how much God loved Evelyn, it was more than I even imagined...this love he has for Evelyn, for each of us, for me.
Honestly, I come back to this park bench often in my thoughts to reflect on the love of God. We see the love of God in the cross in a way no one can understand, beyond our ability to absorb, but on that bench I knew....I really knew the love of God for each one. Something changed for me. It was a turning point in my walk with God and it continues to impact me.
About a year ago, as I thought about the bench, I sensed the Lord telling me, "you need to tell her." And I thought, who? That girl? But I don't even remember her name, it's been 45 years! Instantly I knew her name, found her on Facebook, wrote the story and sent it to her.
It turns out she needed to know of God's love at that moment in her life. She was feeling a bit abandoned by God, forgotten, lost, but with that note as an answer to her prayer she caught her breath and revived. (I wish she could share her story here as well.)
I wonder how many of us don't really know how much God loves us. If we did, if we really knew the love of God it would change us forever. If we only knew. But we do! It's visible for all of us to see in God's love poured out 2,000 years ago. It's clear in what Jesus did for us, for you, for me, as he died in our place. Take a long look at the cross, sit down in front of it and see the love of God poured out for you.
Do you know God loves you more than you could ever imagine? Do you know his love for us would bring grown men to tears? Do you realize you are precious to him? God loves you! Don't run away, don't be mad, don't give up.....run to HIM. His love for you is what you most need and it's free.