If today you will hear his voice, harden not your heart. (Psalm 95)
There was a time when you were young, and innocent, and trusting. When you had a sense of God as a good God, and you knew He loved you, and you wanted to please him. Then someone who should have loved you and protected you did not. Someone you loved and trusted and wanted to please was NOT pleased. They rejected you and hurt you and used you, and cursed you with their words and their actions.
You were crushed, not just once but many times, and each time there was a scar. The devil whispered lies in your ear: “You are not enough. You are not good. You are not loved. God doesn’t care. He won’t protect you. You must protect yourself.” And so like an oyster protecting its tender flesh from a jagged grain of sand, you built up a hard layer, and another, and another. You stopped trusting your tormentor, and you stopped trusting God.
Your shell might look like a beautiful pearl, but there is still a jagged edge buried inside. You built a shell, but you could not remove the grain of sand. And so time passed, and your connection with God grew more dim. Part of you believed the lies, and part of you knew the truth: that you are valuable, and good, and acceptable just as you are. But are you loved? You look to family, to friends, to coworkers, to strangers, needing to be loved, needing to be accepted, needing to be needed. Some seasons are happier than others, but the innocent, trusting child that you once were is long gone. There is no one worthy of your trust, not even yourself. The pain never stops for long.
You are loved, just as you are. You are cherished by me, but to a far greater extent you are cherished by God. He yearns for you. He wants to restore you and give you every good thing. His love for you fills my heart to bursting. It keeps me up at night. He is your creator, and he loves you exactly the way you are. Nothing you have done or will do can separate you from his love.
In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy. (Psalm 16)
Not judgment, not condemnation, not hoops to jump through or laws to keep. Fullness of joy. More joy than you can handle, and peace that words can’t describe. He’s waiting for you like the father of the prodigal son, searching the horizon every day, never giving up on you. Turn to him, ask him to show you his love. Stop listening to the lies and receive the truth: you are valuable, and good, and accepted, loved beyond measure by the Creator of all. Enter into his presence. Experience the joy.