“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves — say rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” — Victor Hugo

Psalm 139
Luke 7:36-50
1 John 4:7-21

It was Kansas wheat harvest time, and Austin Mann rose early to pick up his grandson, Tracey. They drove 20 miles south of their hometown Quinter to prepare for the long day’s work. As they approached the land they were about to harvest, Austin noticed a grain truck approaching, with 16-year-old Wesley Miller at the wheel.

“I see that Wayne has taught Wesley how to drive the grain truck,” the grandfather said. “I was thinking that you should learn to drive this year.”

“But Wesley’s much taller and older,” protested the 12-year-old grandson.

“Yes, but your last name is Mann, and his isn’t,” Austin responded firmly.

The experience branded young Tracey with a confidence that he carried into manhood. It became his right of passage into adulthood.

Jesus does much the same for us.

“We love because (Jesus) first loved us,” John writes (1 John 4:19).

John became the disciple who debatably understood Jesus’ love better than any of the others. He wrote of it prolifically. He received it personally, and passed it along generously. Love was branded into his soul, because he first received it from Jesus.

In football, the quarterback must hand or pitch the ball to the right guy. If he doesn’t, the play is destined for failure. But most fans hardly notice the critical first step: the quarterback must first receive the ball. A single bobbled snap can wreck a drive.

And so it is with love: we must first receive and embrace it.

Try taking a survey of your friends. Ask them, on a scale of 1 to 10, how well they receive love. Few rate themselves better than a four. Keep asking the question, and you’ll find an epidemic of insecurity.

Why such dearth of love received?

We carry the shame of our experience, the insecurity of life, the self-perceived ugliness of ourselves. We lose the capacity to see beauty in ourselves, or to imagine the bountiful love and pride that our maker places upon His children, who were fashioned in His likeness. King David, adulterer and murderer, grasped it:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalms 139:13-14)

And so must we. Step One is to grab onto the father’s love.

What keeps us from receiving our maker’s love?
Has anyone branded you with love and confidence? Who and how?
Can we see ourselves as “fearfully and wonderfully made”? How?


© Revolworks 2006