Our almost-5-year-old son is in a be-naughty-and-then-feel-terrible-about-it phase. He’s a really good kid almost always, but some days he gets this look in his eye (all parents know the one) and then he’ll disobey, and struggle to move on from the offense.
“I’ll never be bad again, Mommy,” he told me a few days ago, after one such parental lecture on why we don’t throw wet sand in our 1-year-old brother’s face (even if it did make said brother laugh).
“You will,” I said. “And I will love you just as much then as I do now. Always and forever. No matter what.”
He has these deep denim-blue eyes framed by ridiculously long lashes and in mommy-son moments like these he seems to peer into my soul.
“Really?” he asked.
“Really,” I said.
He wrinkled his nose skeptically. “I still want to never be bad again, though.”
“You and me both, bud.”
There’s a deeply biblical perspective to being loved always, yet it’s hard to take in. How could God love us when we were mired in our sin? How can he love us still when we go back, time and time again, to those same patterns and habits that separate us from him and our neighbors?
In Romans 5, Paul proclaims incredible news:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Yet just two chapters later, he asks:
Who will save me from this body of sin?
Christ has. Yet Paul – and each of us – still find ourselves in the struggle. And here the message of grace goes deeper still. God loved us before. He loves us now. He will love us tomorrow.
It continues to blow my mind.
Andrew Peterson performed at a small Bible conference I attended last week. It was a sweet surprise – I didn’t know he’d be there, and I’ve loved his music for years.
As he stood on the simple stage with his band and sang his song “Just As I Am,” it hit me in a way it never had before.
Just as I am
Just as I was
Just as I will be
He loves me, he does.
Such a simple message, yet after thirty years of walking with Jesus I still can’t fully wrap my mind around it. Like my son, I want to look straight into Jesus’ eyes and say, “Really?”
I think I know his answer.
Do you ever struggle with believing that God loves you just as you are, just as you were, just as you will be? Which one is hardest for you?