I was on my way to go visit my family and ready for a trip away from the hustle and bustle of my normal life. Recently, my normal life had begun to feel like it was something out of a Christian guidelines book. I was going to church, I was attending small group, I was volunteering my time and money but I just wasn’t feeling it. This past week, something changed. On a day this week yet another one of my many attempts to share my faith with a friend of mine had failed. I was heartbroken, my feelings were hurt, and I was practically speechless. On any other day I would let something like this roll off my shoulders but not this day. This day was different. My feelings were hurt and my heart felt broken. My feelings weren’t hurt as Dana, the outspoken Christian that always talks about her faith, who typically could care less if you disagreed with me. My feelings were hurt as Dana Gustafson, the child of God.
Let me break this down, you know that feeling you get right after someone says something offensive about one of your family members? The “I can say anything I want about my family but no one else can…” the one that immediately makes you angry and puts you on the defensive? Yeah, that one! I figured I’d feel like that, I mean, this was my Father in Heaven you are talking about! The guy who knit me in my mother’s womb, who knows the numbers of days I have on this earth and the exact amount of hairs I have on my head! This. Is. My. Eternal. Father!
My friend had just blatantly disregarded what I had said in such a nonchalant way that they didn’t even realize they did so, and surprisingly, I didn’t feel angry or ready to throw down. I felt sad, I felt helpless and I felt like I was grieving something, rather someone.
I called my husband and my dad in such a state of despair that neither of them really knew how to comfort me. I started balling on my drive home, so much so that I considered pulling over for safety reasons. It was then that I realized, in those moments, that God was showing me what it means to love people as he loves them.
I realized that God doesn’t get that defensive/angry feeling when someone says something bad about him. His heart breaks. His heart breaks like your heart breaks after a break up with someone that you know will never be a part of your life again in the same way. His heart breaks like your heart breaks when you feel rejected. His heart breaks like your heart breaks when you see a family member in pain. His heart breaks like your heart breaks when you know someone just won’t give you a chance.
Do you want to know the most amazing thing about God? Even if you try to cut ties with him, he will still pursue you. Even if you reject him, he will still want you and love you. Even after you have caused him pain he will say, “I forgive you.” Even when you won’t give him a chance, he won’t give up on you.
God loves you and wants you ALL THE TIME. He wants your wholehearted and undivided attention. For those of you that are skeptics, I’ve got news for you, even if you aren’t ready to give him a chance, even if you’ve written him off, rejected him or refused him… on that one day, in that one silent moment when you cry out to him, he will hear you, he will welcome you with open arms and he will love you. Why? Because our God is an awesome God.