Experiencing God's Love

church pews

I've been a Christian for a long time. As a matter of fact I accepted Jesus as my Savior during a Wednesday night church service when I was seven.

When I got to college, though, God began calling me to a greater commitment. It started with friends who I met through the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group on campus. That year I was a spiritual sponge, soaking in all the Christian activities and knowledge I could: church buildingpraying with fellow students at every lunch hour, attending two different Bible studies, walking to church & Sunday School every week, participating in a weekend conference during the first semester, and traveling to the 5-day Urbana missions conference my first Christmas break. I think my motive was essentially just to meet friends, but God met me where I was, selfish motives and all. He was teaching me and surrounding me with people who cared.

just me and the Bible

Even so, by February of my freshman year, I felt that nothing was going right and nobody cared. For the first time all year, I missed a Friday night InterVarsity meeting and sulked in my room, thinking no one would notice or care. But God met me there, in my own private prison, and showed me He cared. Around 8:30 there was a knock at my door. Someone had missed me and was worried about me. My friend knocked persistently, identified himself, and called out to me while I just sat in the dark refusing to answer. Before long, he left.

the cross

If I hadn't been to the point of tears before, I was definitely crying then. It took that knock on my dorm room door to make me realize that I mattered to God simply because I was Jennifer. Still, I could not understand why Jesus had done what he did for me on the cross. Because He had died for me, I knew I had a chance to be God's child and live with Him forever. But why did I feel so unworthy? I thought I should have been the one on the cross, and I told God so.

heart and cross in the window

But God spoke to my heart right there in the quiet of my dorm room. He told me why Jesus died on that cross instead of me: "I love you." I realized at that point that God's love for me had nothing to do with anything I had done or not done, not even how I felt. He chose to love me, and nothing could ever change His love for me. Christ's sacrifice for me still stood.

At that point I decided to start living out my Christian faith. I was no longer partcipating in Christian activities just to make friends or somehow prove myself worthy or earn God's love. From that point on I poured myself into them as an expression of thankfulness and love rather than a plea for love or popularity.

praying hands

I don't know where this finds you. Maybe you've never found God's love for you. I remember hearing when I was growing up that if I were the only person in the world that needed the forgiveness and new life Jesus brings, God still would have sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, no matter how bad a person I was. It's true. God knows everything about you, and He still loves you. What He wants most in the world is for you to reach out to him now in prayer and simply accept His love for you. I know He's reaching out to you.