From day one of our relationship, my husband has been a beautiful example of God’s love for me. We married after only three months of dating, so we got to know each other in the early years of our marriage. I’ll never forget the first time I learned exactly WHY he loved me. As we sat together one evening in comfortable marital bliss, I breathed a happy sigh and looked into his eyes. “So, babe,” I asked, “Why do you love me?” I thought of all the wonderful qualities I possessed, and waited in excited expectation for his response. He didn’t hesitate as he squeezed my hand and said, “Because you’re my wife.” I looked at him, not sure he’d heard me correctly. “Yes, I know,” I said, “But WHY?” He smiled and pulled me closer to him, as if I should be overcome with emotion at his endearing words. “Because you’re mine!”
Of course this is what every woman should long to hear from her husband, but not me, and certainly not at that time in my life as a newlywed. I was used to having people praise me for how beautiful my voice was, or how well I played the piano. For how eloquent and powerful my writings and poems and songs were. I once had a potential suitor tell me that I was everything he wanted in a woman, especially because of my heart for God and desire to serve Him. Yet another extolled my musical gifts, as well as my virtues of kindness and compassion for others. So when my own HUSBAND, the one I wanted to praise and love me for these things, did not even mention them in his reason for loving me, I was insulted. Shocked. Even hurt. I must admit, I felt somewhat betrayed by God for giving me a man who did not love me for the qualities of which I was so proud (what a waste, I thought), and in my eyes, those things which made me so valuable as a wife.
As disturbed as I was that night, it set me thinking upon and considering God’s love for me. Amazingly, there seemed to be a parallel between the two. Who would have thought? J Awhile later, I had a dream that I had to choose between two men who wanted to marry me. I was terribly confused and conflicted, but then my husband walked up to me and gently took my hand. When our eyes met, every doubt I had vanished. It was like I was looking into the very eyes of Jesus, and I nearly melted with the love I felt. Not mere romantic love, but an all-encompassing and unconditional love so much more powerful and deep and intimate. I awoke with tears in my eyes, knowing without a doubt that God was trying to show me through my husband just how much He loved me. And that it wasn’t for what I could do or accomplish or become, but simply for who I already was—HIS. In Song of Solomon 6:3, the Shulamite woman euphorically states, “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.” Of course here it’s a romantic picture of the love between Solomon and his bride, but we know it also relates to us as belonging to Christ. We are His, and He is ours. We have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, who died for us while we were still ungodly. While we were still sinners, unworthy of love, unreconciled to God yet destined to be His very own. 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” He loved us first. He wanted us. He longed for us before we even knew of Him, or grew to love Him in return, or could do or be anything to please Him. We were His beloved creation, made in His image, and for that— and nothing else—He loved us.
It has taken me awhile, but in the years since that discussion with my husband, I have seen how true and right it was for him to respond as he did. How divinely appointed and Christ-like. How breathtakingly beautiful and utterly life-changing his words were. Because they freed me from having to do or even become something in order to earn his love or acceptance. I don’t have to fear losing his love even if I lose my voice or my ability to play the piano. I don’t have to worry that his love will fade if I am struggling spiritually, or lack inspiration to write songs and poetry. I am loved just as I am and because I belong to him; everything else is just a bonus. I possess his love because I am HIS! And that’s exactly why my Father God loves me, why He loves YOU.
So be encouraged today, because true Love doesn’t love you for your beauty or your talents or your actions, He loves you because of who you are in Him, WHOSE you are, all past or future accomplishments and becoming’s aside. Be set free from trying to perform, or become, or do in an attempt to earn God’s love. You can come to Him just as you are and know that His love for you won’t (and cannot) change, whether you have it all together or your life is a mess. It won’t wane and it will never fail, because it’s not based on your doing, but on your belonging. The cross was more than sufficient proof of that! If you know Jesus, you belong to your Father God, and you can be confident that who you are is His beautiful child. His perfect masterpiece. His cherished creation. YOU are His beloved, and He is yours. So as unglamorous as it may sound, the amazingly liberating and profoundly wonderful truth is this: He simply loves you because you are His. You belong to Jesus. And that is, and always will be, enough.