I’ve heard it said that the longest 18 inches in the world is the distance from the human mind to the human heart.
I don’t know who first said this, but he or she is right. As human beings, we are masters of knowing something in our head but failing to fully grasp it with our heart. That’s why we can assent to so many of the truths contained in Scripture without their ever really making much of a difference in our life.
For example, we’re taught from our earliest spiritual training (whether as a child or as an adult) that God loves us. We even sing songs about His love (“Jesus loves me; this I know, for the Bible tells me so”). But somehow, many of us grow up with a distorted or incomplete view of God’s love. We don’t really understand the marvel that it is. We don’t “get it.”
Maybe we never felt loved by our parents or others close to us. Maybe we’ve been betrayed by someone we love. Maybe we’ve never heard much about His love. Whatever the reason, we’re unable to comprehend or absorb God’s love for us. We know in our head that He loves us, but we don’t feel it in our heart.
I’ve been there. For many years, I didn’t really believe God loved me in particular. I knew that “God so loved the world,” so I figured he loved me too with a sort of obligatory love because I am part of the world. I never knew He is crazy in love with me—with me!—as an individual. For most of my life, I wasn’t even aware of the truth that God loves me madly and passionately—so much so that He delights in me and rejoices over me (see Zeph. 3:17). Even when I did learn that truth, I still didn’t really “get it” because I couldn’t comprehend what it was like to be loved like that.
But gradually, God began to move the truth of His incredible love downward, from my head into my heart. He placed loving people in my life. He directed my attention to many places in the Bible where it tells me how much He loves me. He prompted me to pray that I would come to know His love. And He instructed His Holy Spirit—He must have—to begin communicating this amazing truth to my heart in a way that I could understand.
I share my story with you because I know some of you struggle in the same way I did. You might know in your head that God loves you, but you don’t feel it in your heart. You’re desperate to feel loved by Him, but you don’t know how. Maybe you’re not fully convinced, as I wasn’t, that God is crazy about you.
But it’s true. God is crazy about you. He loves you beyond measure. And it’s also true that He will help you to know and experience His love. You don’t have to know how it works. If you go to Him and ask Him to get through to you in a way that you will understand and can’t miss, He’ll do it. He knows exactly how to communicate His truth to your heart.
Yes, there are things you can do to cooperate with God in the process. You can make a diligent study of Scripture. You can pray. You can seek counsel from others. You can determine that you will believe the truth of God’s love for you even if it doesn’t feel true. You can and should do all these things. But ultimately, the true work to be done in your heart is God’s, through His Holy Spirit, and He can do that perfect work in a way no one else can.
Let Him do His work. Let Him show you His love for you. Do the things he directs you to do that will help you gain a better understanding of the multifaceted glory of His love. Your life will never be the same.
Your children’s lives will never be the same, either. For when you truly begin not only to understand that you are loved, but to believe it in your heart and absorb it into your very being, you won’t be able to help but overflow with God’s love. We love our children best when we love them from the overflow of the same love we have received. When we love them with the same kind of love God has lavished upon us. But we can’t do that until we have truly understood the reality and the magnificence of it for ourselves.
Jesus loves you; this you know, for the Bible tells you so.
May that become a reality in your life and in the lives of your children, precious mom. I’ll pray for you.
1 John 4:10—This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:19—We love because he first loved us.