Back when we were first married, my wife had a collection of Precious Moments figurines. She has always had a soft spot in her heart for those little figures with the teardrop eyes and the Bible-based themes.
When we had our first child, we decorated the nursery in Precious Moments décor and with many of the figurines she had collected through the years. They were all (pardon the pun) quite precious to her – and what better way to welcome her new precious gift (our son) than to surround him with her treasured collection… and the fond memories associated with each of them.
Fast forward a few years to a day that she will never forget. Our son, and a friend were playing in his room. There is the inevitable calm before the storm… when little minds are scheming something best kept as quiet as possible. Then comes the outburst… and the noise of shattered porcelain against hard nursery walls. My wife hurried to the scene only to find that many of her precious collectibles had been hurled against the walls… leaving only broken fragments… and the dust of so many fond memories, scattered across the floor.
Needless to say, it was not a good ending for our son.
But the few moments of destructive terror left an indelible impression on my wife. She cannot think of those broken figurines without feeling a tinge of deep sadness.
I hear from a lot of people who struggle with feeling broken and useless because of circumstances from their past. They are haunted by mistakes. Beaten unmercifully by regrets. Deeply bruised by their failures. Shattered by what has been done to them (often by people whom they trusted!). It is so hard for them to feel wanted or useful or valued because they are face to face with their shame or guilt or regrets daily. They would very much like to feel that God loves them… but they are never quite sure they are worthy of the love of Someone so holy, majestic and mighty. Why would Someone so great need to stoop so low as to give even a thought to ones so twisted and broken?
It seems, for so many, the wonderful promise of God’s love is constantly overshadowed by their overpowering sense of brokenness. It’s so hard to come into the light when all you seem to feel is the grip of darkness.
If you have felt that way (or feel that way now) I have some good news for you…
First, you are not alone. Nearly everyone, to some degree, feels that way. It’s part of the inner knowledge in all of us… that we are SO undeserving of the attention (let alone the affection) of the Most High. Feeling broken is commonplace. And in some regard, we should feel that way… because it’s true: we really ARE broken.
But second, the measure of God’s love for us is not based on human standards (where love is often conditional or earned by worthy behavior), it is based on God’s Own infinite standards. His love, because it is the way HE loves, has no limits, no boundaries, no conditions… ever. This means that when God chooses to love… nothing can deter or diminish that love. Once given, it can never be taken away.
And that’s how God loves us. He chose to love us. NOT because we are good or perfect or unbroken or without blemish… but just because He has made the choice to love us – and He can’t ever change His Mind.
How do we know that God loves us? Because when God came to live among us, that’s what He showed us. He just loved us… even though we may have been rejected by all others, He chose to show us profound acceptance. Jesus embraced the broken, the twisted, the rejected… those who were seen (by this world) only as worthy of the trash bin.
All this week, I just want to look at Jesus and some of those He chose to love. We just might be surprised to discover that, of those someones, there may be some who are just like us…