Sometimes I’m slow on the uptake. Still working my way through “The One Year Chronological Bible.” Two days ago I read about Daniel in Daniel chapters 10 and 11. The angel addressed Daniel as “greatly loved of God.” He explains the moment Daniel began praying, which was three weeks prior to this appearance, his request was heard in heaven. Some kind of fierce spiritual battle took place which required Michael, one of the archangels, to aid the angel in order for him to deliver the message to Daniel. He later tells Daniel,
“Dont be afraid, for you are deeply loved by God. Be at peace, take heart and be strong!” (Daniel 10:19)
I know in my head God loves me. I sing about it, in the privacy of my car, throughout the day. But something about the description of being
has stopped me in my tracks.
Not just loved. But loved greatly. And deeply.
I’ve been turning these truths over and over in my mind.
I forget He loves me and begin to fret. I forget He loves me and I start taking responsibility for things I was never tasked with. I forget He loves me and I scramble for control. I forget He loves me and live as if everything depends on me. I forget He loves me and I forget He is with me.
A strong foundation of love makes all the difference in any relationship. The circumstances can be exactly the same, but the heart attitude is different. Love changes everything.
The kind of intimacy Daniel shared with his God kept him from rebelling or becoming bitter when he was taken from his home and sent away to Babylon as a teenager. His understanding and experience of God’s love, character and provision gave him courage to go against the crowd and abstain from the food eaten by the king and royal court. His obedience and steadfast faith kept him loyal to HIs God. He refused to bow down to worship the Babylonian king and was thrown into the lion’s den.
Daniel, just like you and just like me, experienced trials, bewilderment, heartache, discouragement, disappointment, unanswered prayer, life threatening situations, and all the while he was greatly loved and deeply loved by God.
So often my thinking is limited. Short-sighted. Off.
I think of being protected from experiencing trials, heartache, disappointment as evidence of being deeply and greatly loved. While I’m sure God has protected me from unseen difficulties, I also understand being greatly loved and deeply loved includes the hard times. The times when life gets derailed, when well laid plans are disrupted; the times when I personally fall and fail. I am greatly loved and deeply loved in and through those hard times. The intensity of God’s love is not based on my circumstances or my response. His love is great and deep and unconditional.
God’s love is tender and fierce.
Deeply loved means He knows my circumstances, struggles, and secrets. He gives strength to persevere and walk through the valleys. He is for me. With me. His purposes are higher and include a bigger plan I am often unaware of. His motivation always has and continues to be love. So it is from this foundation of love that I bring my fears, insecurities, failures and concerns to His safe keeping.
He loves you and he loves me greatly.
And like the angel shared with Daniel, knowing God loves us deeply helps us to be at peace, take heart and be strong.
I am seeking to mull and mediate and respond to what it means to be greatly loved by God.
What does it mean to you for God to love you deeply?