Pause for Thought with Ray Dadswell: The unconditional love of God

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I chose my Valentine card and took it to the cashier to make my payment, and we discussed how difficult it can be to find just the right words for the person who holds first place in our affections.

Then we remembered that in the past it was not usual to sign the card, of course; the recipient was left to guess the identity of the sender.

Then I went to another shop where, for just a pound, I could buy a whole pack of cards. A whole pack? Why on earth would I need so many!

A few days later, I came across this testimony, forwarded to me by a lady I shall refer to as Marion.

To her, without a doubt, true love had a signature: it came from God, revealed to us through his Son, Jesus. Enjoy and be impressed.

Lord, how aware I am today that your love is changing me.

All of my life I have hungered for real, unconditional love. A love that would never change its mind or walk away. I was always striving to earn love, manipulating people to gain love, and even living a lie to steal the love I so desperately needed.

And yet, all the time you were there, holding out your arms to me. How could I not see the love in your eyes? The beseeching look on your face? How did I not hear you calling out my name?

Now I realise that all the time I searched for love, the pain and anger pounded in my ears, deafening me. My desperate looking had blinded my eyes to you.

The bitterness that smouldered in my heart filled every moment of my days, and drove me further away from you. I felt totally alone in a world of darkness and suffering.

And then I fell. Like Alice in Wonderland, I fell and I fell, into the abyss of self-rejection. I thought that I had finally understood: I was unlovable.

But, as I fell I found that the deeper I went, the less my ears throbbed, the clearer my eyes were able to see.

Finally my heart let out an agonised cry for help.

That is when it dawned on me that I had fallen into your arms. I heard your heart beating as you said to me, “Daughter, you are safe now, you are home. “ I turned to see who you were.

My eyes finally recognised that unconditional love that I had longed for, written across your face.

My ears picked up the joy in your voice as you claimed your own, back from the darkness.

Your love is my home, my hiding-place, and who I really am, and all that I could say was “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Romans 5, 8: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”