You are greatly loved

by | Jun 15, 2020 | Faith, Reading & Musings | 21 comments |

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

 

I lay in bed in the middle of the night, wakeful and worried. During the day, migraine auras had flashed like white and black lightning streaks in the peripheral field of my right eye. Though my ocular migraines have never been accompanied by classic migraine headaches, now a blind-spot floated across my field of vision. I hadn’t had anxiety symptoms like this for at least two years and never this persistent.

Since I knew my anxiousness indicated, in part, a lack of faith, I prayed. My prayers often seem like I’m having a one-way conversation. And yet, even though no words come back to me, I always feel calmer. But this time I heard a gentle voice.

“You are loved.”

Okay, those three words were unexpected, I thought, and welcome.

And then this: “You are greatly loved.”

I knew immediately, it was the voice of Jesus.

 

AGentleAnswer_BookCoverA Gentle Answer, by Pastor Scott Sauls, is a timely book, given the current state of our country and world. In Part I, Sauls addresses the gentleness Jesus has for us: He befriends the sinner in us, reforms the Pharisee in us, and disarms the cynic in us. Then in Part II, Sauls explores how His gentleness changes us: we grow thicker skin, do anger well, receive criticism graciously, forgive, and bless our betrayers.

Sauls: “Because Jesus Christ has loved us at our worst, we can love others at their worst. Because Jesus Christ has forgiven us for all of our wrongs, we can forgive others who have wronged us. Because Jesus Christ offered a gentle answer instead of pouring out punishment and rejection for our offensive and sinful ways, we can offer gentle answers to those who behave offensively and sinfully toward us. But make no mistake. Jesus’s gentle answer will be costly as well. We must die to ourselves, to our self-righteousness, to our indignation, and to our outrage.”

A gentle answer is not a weak answer.

Sauls: “In fact, it requires the deepest, most courageous, and most heroic kind of faith—the kind that is possible only through the gentle and gentling power of Christ himself.”

 

As soon as I heard Christ’s voice speaking to me, my middle-of-the-night worrying stopped, and I began to pray for others. Only love can drive out worry, anger, and guilt. Because love is the most powerful answer.

I’ll contact my ophthalmologist if the auras and floaters persist. In the meantime, I’m holding God’s love close to my heart—a two-way conversation. So for today, I can die to myself and share the gentle, courageous, healing message of Christ with those ready to hear and pass along these words:

“You are loved. You are greatly loved.”

21 Comments

  1. George Duff

    Thanks so much. You’re sharing with us yesterday is a duplicate of your blog. You are loved by us, but our love is a small token up in comparison to God’s love for us. Love you. U George

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Reply
    • Carole Duff

      Thank you and love you, Uncle George!

      Reply
  2. sophialorenabenjamin

    Lovely post Carole. It is such personal encounters and sharing them that uplifts us all. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Ryan Callahan

    So beautiful! Praying for you Carole! God bless you and your family!

    Reply
    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Ryan. Praying for you, too. God’s Peace. -C.D.

      Reply
  4. brenonduff

    Thanks Carole. That’s beautiful and so personal from Jesus.
    Brenon Duff

    Reply
    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Brenon. It was a profound experience, meant to be shared. Trust all is well. -C.D.

      Reply
  5. Sue Love

    Carole – awesome! I liked this part:

    “We can offer gentle answers to those who behave offensively and sinfully toward us. But make no mistake. Jesus’s gentle answer will be costly as well. We must die to ourselves, to our self-righteousness, to our indignation, and to our outrage. A gentle answer is not a weak answer.”

    I have found, in my years as a follower of Jesus, that Jesus’ love for us and our love for others is oftentimes described (interpreted) in a manner that is weak, and it ends up coddling people in their sin and even giving their sin approval. They see love as approving of sin and as tolerance of sin. But that is not how Jesus loved. His love lifted us out of our pits of sin and it sets us on a solid rock of faith in him whereby we forsake our lives of sin to follow him in surrender to his will for our lives. And, I am so grateful that his love for me did not leave me where I was, but he loved me enough to change me, and this his love for me continues to change me.

    Thanks, Carole. I appreciate this.

    Reply
    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Sue, for sharing your journey in faith. The quote is from Scott Sauls, and I highly recommend his book. Convicting and encouraging.

      Reply
      • Sue Love

        Carole, you are welcome. And, thank you for giving me the author’s name. I will try to remember to look him up.

        Reply
  6. Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you for sharing your reassuring story, Carole. Decades ago my patience, self-control, and self-denial (to name a few problem areas!) were sadly under-developed. Praise God he’s performed his transforming work on me–and has loved me all along the way. (He’s still working on me, but we’re making headway!)

    Reply
    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for sharing your story, too, Nancy. Wonderful to know we have company on the journey. God’s Peace. -C.D.

      Reply
  7. seekingdivineperspective

    Praying you get some answers for your eye issues. Meanwhile, may your faith in Jesus’ love give you peace.

    Reply
    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Ann. My eye floaters are lessening. Peace of the Lord.

      Reply
  8. bigskybuckeye

    Carole, I pray you will expectation fewer issues with the floaters and migraines. May the love of Jesus flow through all of life’s chaos and reach more and more are through prayer. God’s peace!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Meet Carole

Subscribe

Let's Connect

Favorite Subjects

%d bloggers like this: