A lot of us have a hard time with the concept of love. Sometimes it's caused by abuse from those who supposedly love us now; sometimes it's a carryover from childhood. It's all connected to fear. Fear of being hurt by others, unable to trust anyone fully. I struggle with it daily, and rarely a day passes that I don't think about it.
A thought came to me this morning while I was driving, a time that God seems to use a lot with me, maybe because He has a captive audience at 55 m.p.h., that if God had a photo album, my picture would be on the very front page. He loves me that much. Not mine alone though, but everyone else's too. That would be some big page, but God would be able to see it all at once.
After a while, I thought, well maybe not on the front page but at least a section devoted to me. But God doesn't play favorites so He couldn't divide us into sections. That would make some jealous if they weren't at the front of the album.
Then I thought, what about Abraham, and David, and Paul, surely they would be at the very front of the photo album. Surely God must care more for special people like these. But Jesus reminds me that He didn't die just for "special" people but for anyone willing to trust in Him. That makes me special too.
When the good shepherd left his 99 sheep to look for one little-lost sheep, I'm sure there were probably some special, maybe prize-winning sheep in the flock he left behind. But he left them anyway to look for the scraggly little one that just couldn't seem to get it right.
And when he found it, I can see him picking it up with love, wrapping it gently in his own cloak, and carrying it back to the rest of the flock in great joy, murmuring words of love and assurance.
That little-lost sheep is us. We were frightened and alone, quivering in fear, thinking no one loved us or cared, wondering which way to run to get to safety. But He took us back to the flock and placed us right in the middle of all the rest of His prize winners. Just like we belonged, and just because of Him, we do.
When I was a child, I was the youngest of two children, and when I got older, I asked my Mom why all the pictures in the albums were of my sister and so few of me. She'd just make up some excuse, and I'd accept it. When I was older, she told me my daddy never wanted a second child, so that's why there so few pictures.
Yep, my pictures are in God's photo album, and on the very front page, right between David and Paul. Not because I deserve to be there, but because Jesus loves me, and because of Him I'm family. He always wanted me, and He wants me to know it.
God's Photo Album