I once had a vision. The image was of a left hand reached out with its palm facing up. Sitting in the palm’s cup, delicately secure , was my heart. Then the right hand reached over and covered the heart. The hands lightly clasped so the heart was mostly hidden from my sight. Then the hands gently started to press and release rhythmically, and my heart began to beat. These were God’s hands, and only weeks after he first began knitting me together in my mother’s womb, he set my heart to beat.
For years, this recurrent image has been a reminder of the generally temporal nature of this earthly life, and specifically the brevity and fragility of my own life. One day, when God’s purpose for my life has been met, my Lord will squeeze my heart no more. At that point, my soul will leave my broken body and ascend through the glorious gates of Heaven only because my Savior Jesus has paid my debt in full on the cross and thereby declared me righteous.
Recently this image has revealed a different truth.
GOD LOVES ME.
This isn’t entirely new for me, of course. This fact is what first drew me to the Lord when I was 17. What was different is what this love looks like. When I thought of how God loves me, I pictured him almost as a caring pet owner and myself as a hamster. In my mind, he would glance at my cage in the midst of thousands of others with a happy grin. Occasionally, I felt like he would even open my cage and give me a new toy to make my life more pleasant. He might even pet my head gently and affectionately, but eventually he would close the cage again and go back to his place where he could keep an eye on the whole population of hamsters.
This is not how God loves us. The idea that God holds each heart in his hand reminds us that God loves us constantly, thoroughly, and intimately. His thoughts and his care are ALWAYS on me. At rest, my heart beats 72 times per minute. So at least 72 times in the past minute the Lord has remembered me, thought of me, cared for me, LOVED ME. That in itself makes my eyes fill with tears. But now consider these statistics:
My heart has beat on average 4320 times in the past hour, 103,680 times in the past day, and 37.8 million times in the past year, and roughly 1.2 billion times in my life. If you want an eye opener, calculate your own number of heartbeats. That is unfathomable in itself. Now consider that even before there was time, God in his infinite wisdom and omniscience knew who we would be and he loved us. It was this very love for you, for me, for all humanity that he sent his perfect, righteous, and holy son to the Earth to die for our sins, so we might spend eternity with our Father (John 3:16). That kind of love is beyond what we can even understand.
I can tell you, that the little that I do understand is enough. I think back to the best moments, or heartbeats, of my life. When I stood by that waterfall with George asking me to marry him, God was there, squeezing my heart faster and faster, and loving me. When I would check on my sleeping babies and I would come out of their rooms with my hand pressed to my chest because I thought the abundant love and thankfulness in my heart would make it burst out of my skin, God was loving me. I think of my saddest, most lonely, most shameful moments…in the hospital room, on the bathroom floor, in my car on that country road, God was there keeping my heart beating and loving me.
In the past few days since I’ve revisited this image of God holding my heart and making it beat over and over again, I have changed. It is impossible to know how passionately, intimately, devotedly, faithfully, delicately, consistently, abundantly, and irrevocably the Lord loves you and not be changed as a result. How has this knowledge changed you?