I was going to write this really long story about three young men who each tried to prove their love in a different way. And it was going to be some kind of parable about how Jesus loves us and we love him.
But it was very complicated and just, well, terrible. It went on and on and on. And it took all kinds of leaps in logic to figure out what the point was. In the end, I was about as confused as my own characters.
What I'm really trying to say isn't complicated or confusing at all. Unless you want it to be. Then I suppose it's very convoluted and difficult to grasp. (Except it's not.)
"Jesus loves me."
That's it. That's all I'm trying to say. Easy enough, right? And actually, there's nothing more to it. "Jesus loves me." End of post.
"But what about...?"
The answer to whatever the objection is faith in this simple phrase: "Jesus loves me." There's nothing more complicated, nothing more necessary to understand. It's that simple and that powerful.
How can I say this and keep a straight face? I'm being metaphorical, right? I'm exaggerating, over-simplifying, dumbing things down. Right? Surly there's more to living life than "Jesus loves me". Isn't there?
I have faith in Jesus' love for me and that faith is this: He loves me and died as payment for my sin to free me for a new life born through him. Faith in that love compels me to turn away from sin and run to him. His love for me creates love in me and that love guides me every step. So I live by faith in "Jesus loves me."
"But what if I don't understand something in the Bible? How can I be sure I've got it right?"
Jesus loves me and doesn't leave me alone as an orphan in the world. He sends his very own Spirit to teach me. I don't have to trust in my own understanding. I don't have to rely on me to get it right or live in fear of getting it wrong. Instead, I trust Him. He is my teacher and defender in all things. My faith will remain in: "Jesus loves me".
"But disease and pain and poverty? Or kids with brain tumors? How is any of that love?"
Jesus loves me. What he did for me opens my eyes to what love really means: To live is Christ and to die is gain. This life I live now is just a shadow of the brilliance that awaits me. The love I feel now is only a pale reflection of the love I will experience. Yet while I live, I rejoice because each moment is an opportunity to love others and each suffering is an opportunity for complete reliance on "Jesus loves me". My weakness demonstrates his strength so that others may see his love for me. Bring on the disease and pain and poverty and whatever else - Jesus loves me.
"But if you love Jesus, you will keep his commands."
So true. Jesus loves me and because of his love, I can now love. And that is his command - to love. It is he who creates that love within me. And it is because of his love that he sends his Spirit to teach me how move beyond the adherence to laws and instead follow the law of love. And so my faith remains in the very simplest of phrases, "Jesus loves me."
I could go on, but why? This is spectacularly simple. It is marvelously comforting. And it is the only truth I need.
Does it seem complicated? Or convoluted? Or difficult to comprehend? Then just believe: "Jesus loves me." Are you afraid? Do you have doubts? Are you terrified of what you don't know? Just believe: "Jesus loves me." Trust him to know what you need, to have the answers, to lead the way, to be your comfort, protection and teacher. Believe in him.
Because: "Jesus loves me."