I'd like to think that one of my most favorite things about the Philippines is how it reveres and celebrates the Holy Week. I don't think any other country in the world adheres to Holy Week the same way we Filipinos do.
When I was younger & we were living across a Church, I have always associated Holy Week with solemnity. I recall being sad during the Holy Week simply because it was as if the whole world stopped turning for a moment.
Now, that I am a little older (yes, just a little!), I have realized that while the Holy Week is no longer as solemn as it used to be but I'd like to think that people are more reflective of what it symbolizes.
Holy Week for me really is reflecting on God's love for me. Sometimes, just sitting down and comprehending His love for me leaves me in a state of awe.
You see, the world is all about conditional love. Unconditional love that doesn't seek anything in return is so rare that when we finally come across something so beautiful, we fail to truly grasp its beauty.
I mean, it is in our human nature to love someone who loves us, however, it is a completely foreign idea to love someone who despises us. Better yet, we cannot fully grasp the truth that no matter what we've done or where we've been, we are loved.
We throw the word "love" (I know I do!) way too many times in a day that sometimes we forget its real meaning.
The past three weeks have been challenging in a way that makes me doubt just how much God loves me.
For one thing, I haven't been on my best behavior. I have been insecure and I have been defensive in order to protect that insecurity. I have always been filled with fear & doubt and have pretty much worried my March away. There are others, but I am to embarrassed to share it with my little cyberworld.
But the point is: I haven't been good and if it wasn't for the beautiful grace of God, I wouldn't even have the guts to write this right now. But then again I have learned through His Spirit that my qualification comes from Him and not from what I have done.
Okay, humor me for a second.. What is the love that you dream of? What is the love that you are praying for? What is the love that you wish would last a lifetime?
If you ask me, I dream of a love that loves me even when I'm my worst. The kind of love that wouldn't leave even if I cry excessively, eat way too much junk & even when I don't work out. I dream of a love that won't break my heart when my looks change or when I become way too excessive for my own good.
I dream of a love that is secured and a love that would love me even when there is absolutely nothing good to love about me.
Growing up an insecure child, I have been hypnotized into thinking that that kind of love would be found in another human being. I always thought that just like Ariel, when I find my prince, I will suddenly feel secure in who I am simply because I was loved by another.
What I didn't realize was that even though I marry the most perfect man on the planet, I still wouldn't find the kind of my love that I long for in the deepest part of my heart simply because that kind of love can only be given by God and only Him! He is the only one who can love me fully, completely and even when I'm not the best version of myself. In fact, He already does!
For the longest time, I could not, for the life of me comprehend how God can love me like that, I mean has He seen me when I have my walls up or better yet, has He seen me in the first few minutes of the morning?!
Answer is, yes He has and yes, He still loves me! Incredible!
Since my minute, finite mind could not comprehend just how much God loves me, I tried 'testing' it. Would God still love me when I do things I shouldn't? YES! Now that doesn't mean we should go on sinning because we are loved no matter what, but it is this powerful love that is meant to make us see that we can turn away from something that destroys us. And we can only do so if we understand the depth of God's love.
You see, I had a very prideful attitude about God's love.
I actually thought that God loves me because of all the "wonderful" things I have done. My humble mind could never comprehend that the God of the Universe chose to love me and His decision is not based on who I am.
Okay, I shall give you a moment to digest that.
So have you digested it?
Isn't it wonderful that even when we're at our very worst, we are still loved? And that it is the only love that would leave us secure in ourselves? Maybe even secure enough to love others & be loved by imperfect people?
I have loved Jesus for a very long time but I have not truly grasped this truth until today.
You see there is absolutely nothing great about me other than God's love for me. All the good things in my life are from Him, but I must admit that there are still crummy parts but God says it's okay, it takes time but I love you and we'll get to the best version of yourself together.
God knows I need help.
And it all begins with knowing how loved we are. It may be a simple message but it is often the core of who we are and the reasons why we do the things we do. If we know how loved we are and if we are secured in that love, it would definitely change the way we are and the way we treat others and most importantly, ourselves.
This is only my humble way of describing love but I believe this podcast from New Life The Fort could change your life and make you understand the depth of God's love.
Happy Holy Week & may you truly grasp the depth, the breadth and the magnificence of God's love for you.