|Photo by Melissa Haas|
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, northings present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
I am completely loved and accepted by God.
It had been a bad day. Back then, Troy and I were missionaries in Kenya, and we were getting ready to leave Nairobi to head back to the bush. I had done all of my shopping except my meats, and I intended to go by the butcher on the way out of town. Buying supplies was always a big deal because if we forgot anything we needed, we would have to do without until we made the twelve-hour drive back to town two months later. On this particular day, we were heading back to the bush on a Saturday, and I had under-estimated the time it would take us to pack the vehicle and get on the road. We were getting away later than I had promised—a big deal since it is dangerous to drive at night in Africa. Troy was irritated, and I was apologetic. We drove up to the butcher only to discover that they were closed. It was Saturday, and they only stayed open until noon.
Troy was angry, I was in tears, and both of us were in a quandary about what to do. Did we stay an extra night in Nairobi—and have to unpack the truck and repack again the next day—or did we choose to go without beef or chicken for the next three months?
We drove back to the mission office, and one of our fellow missionaries invited us to come in and have a cold drink. We were both obviously upset, and I felt like I had totally failed. Explaining the situation to Jack and lamenting about my mistake and the resulting consequences, he looked straight into my eyes and said, “Melissa, you are forgiven.”
My breath caught in my throat, and it was if the Lord Himself had spoken those words into my heart. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. Tears sprang to my eyes, and all I could do was whisper a quiet, “Thank you.” In that moment I felt completely loved and accepted in spite of my failures—not by my missionary colleague, but by my Lord. Jack embodied Christ to me that day.
How about you? Have you experienced God’s love in spite of your failures?
One of the things God has told me over and over in my personal times with Him is that He loves me. Let me share some of my favorite love notes with you.
Psalm 18:16-19 (NIV) He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.
Lamentations 3:19-23 (NIV) I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet, this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Zephaniah 3:15-17 (NIV) The Lord has taken away your punishment; He has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.”
I am always in awe when I read that He delights in me. He loves me. He finds pleasure in me. His heart longs for me and rejoices when I come to Him. He accepts me completely and loves me unconditionally.
He loves you and me more than we can even imagine. A look at the cross only begins to explain the depths of His love.
Are you resting in His love today? Say it out loud, write in on sticky notes and post them everywhere, put it on your Facebook: I am completely loved and accepted by God.
Melissa Haas currently serves as the Director of Restoration Groups for HopeQuest, a ministry group in Woodstock, Georgia, which helps people struggling with life-dominating issues. Melissa began her service in ministry in 1993 as an international missionary to Kenya, East Africa, where she and her husband Troy worked as church planters among the Turkana people. When a significant marital crisis ended their missionary service, Melissa and Troy began a journey of healing and restoration that now serves as the foundation of their ministry to others. Passionate about spiritual community, healthy marriages, and intimacy with God, Melissa regularly facilitates small groups and teaches and speaks on these topics in order to help the Body of Christ grow relationally with God and each other. Melissa and Troy and their three children reside in Woodstock, Georgia.