John 3:16-17 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
This morning I’m sitting preparing to write and firmly staking out ground in my lap is my loving doggie, Coco. He’s the second of my two rescues and has a large need for love and reassurance every day. It stems, I’m sure from the mistreatment he received as a puppy before he was abandoned.
As he sat here, God told me that I’m very much like him in my own ways. No, I don’t weigh around twenty pounds, nor is my body covered with gray and black fur. But I do find that every day I need a lot of love and reassurance from my Father in heaven. After reading the book “The Shack” and later seeing the movie of the same name, I’m fond of referring to him in some cases as Papa.
So I’m thinking about the need my dog has and Papa tells me I too have the same needs. Then he reminds me of what was written about him in John 3:16. That he loved me SO MUCH, he sent his Son to take the punishment for my sins. If you’re familiar with the story, you know that Jesus was God’s son. He was born of a woman and lived a fully human experience.
As he pursued his ministry, Jesus offered freedom from past, present, and future sins in exchange for you simply believing that his story was real. That he was who he said he was.
In time, religious leaders chose to execute him – even though he’d committed no crime. But as is almost always the case, God used something awful to do something awesome. 3 days after his death, Jesus was resurrected and was seen alive and well to countless people in the next few weeks. Then he returned (ascended) to heaven to live once more with his Father.
Because of the evidence that all of this is true (I wasn’t actually there, you know), I choose to believe that this Jesus was and is the real deal. In exchange for believing I’ve been forgiven those things I did in my past and now possess real freedom from my past.
If you ever wanted a loving embrace from your Papa – God himself, all you have to do is ask. Then believe it will happen (have faith!) and you’ll begin to experience his love in new and fresh ways. Just like Coco, who was set free from the bad place he started in life and now experiences love and reassurance every day, it can happen for you too!