Be bold enough always to believe that God is on your side and wholly yours, whatever you may think of yourself.
— Abbe Henri de Tourville in Bread Upon the Waters by Peter Reinhart
Earlier this month, the statement above was one of the daily spiritual practices I get from a magazine called “Spirituality and Practice.” That day I was drawn to the practice suggested, “Rest peacefully in the belief that God loves you dearly no matter what.”
With all that’s going on, world-wide, it might be a really good idea to take the practice to heart. Since we’re still in disorienting, disillusioning times, we all need something solid to hang onto. As people of faith, we know that there is nothing more stable and enduring than the love of God through Jesus Christ.
In the book of Hebrews, believers are reminded that God will never leave nor forsake them and that God will always help them (Hebrews 13:5-6). Then a couple of lines later we read something amazing about Jesus. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8).
Christ’s persevering love is important to trust. That mysterious yet strong and fierce love has existed before the cosmos began and is a source of courage and strength for all who wish to receive it – today and in all of the days to come.
Think about a situation that you dread, pending or imagined. Really put yourself into the scene. Imagine it as completely as possible.
Then imagine it again, only this time have Jesus (God, Light, Love, or whatever special way you have of visualizing the divine presence) walking alongside you into the entirety of that encounter. What would it feel like to genuinely believe that Jesus was 1,000% with you the whole time? Would it change how you walked, sat, spoke, thought, and felt about what was going on? Would it change how you thought about yourself?
This little exercise can make a big difference about how you approach challenges and the kind of responses that you give to them. And the interesting thing is to notice that when you believe God/Christ is present and wholly on your side, the responses you have are not completely yours. The words or actions come from a place deep inside you that feels unshakable, almost effortless, and somehow more you than you!
Even if you have bad feelings about yourself and aren’t sure that you have what it takes to wade through the difficulties of our times, don’t let that stop you from believing that the Creator of the universe wants to walk with you on every step of your journey. Even if you feel too young or too old to make sense of this kind of love directed at you, just believe.
The One who loves you is rock steady, deeply loving, and eternally on your side. And there’s nothing that you can say or do that will change that.
So, today why not try to engage in this practice from the daily spiritual practice mentioned earlier: “Rest peacefully in the belief that God loves you dearly no matter what”. And may you find comfort and hope in doing so.