“Wow.” I whispered. When you have chronic illness you get to have a very special peek at a depth of unconditional love that few get to see. I’ve always been taught about undeserved love- Jesus! All humans have sinned and deserve death. Yep, I got that. I can even mostly remember the Romans Road verses that tell the story. In our sin, God sacrificed His son for us! His Son! The story is amazing every single time I stop to think about it. But that’s the thing… sometimes, we get to the point where we’ve heard it so many times, we don’t stop to think about it.
As amazing as what God did for us is, it is SO easy for us to quickly forget the magnitude of what He’s done. We quickly forget how much we don’t deserve it. Satan even tries to convince us that we do deserve it (in much less direct thoughts, of course).
When you have chronic illness, however, you are suddenly allowed a special glimpse into what unconditional and undeserved love really looks like. Recently I reached the point where I couldn’t do anything at all to care for myself (let alone anyone else), and neither could I communicate well, or speak encouragement. Every time I tried I kept hurting people since I couldn’t think clearly, and things came out wrong. Not only could I not do anything good for people, I kept making things much harder in so many ways. I did not deserve anyone’s care or love at all. Instead I deserved their frustration at the very least. Have you been there?
However, I was blessed immensely with family and friends who loved me with God’s love- unconditionally. When I felt like I made things harder for a friend, she bought me a book to cheer me up. When I stayed in my room, my family came and visited me throughout the day. When I reacted wrongly to something my mom asked me to do, she forgave me and prayed for me. When I asked for prayers, and didn’t answer emails, my friends prayed and assured me it was fine. When I couldn’t keep commitments, people were so gracious to me, and even did those things for me.
Now, if your experience has been the opposite, I am truly sorry. Don’t give up hope that one day you will find people like this, and in the meantime, I promise that God will always love you, even more than these people love me.
The thing is, unconditional love can be very difficult to accept. It means we have to let go of our pride, it means that we have to lean completely on someone else, knowing we can do nothing in return. It means that we have to trust that person not to let us go. If their love is not theirs, but from God, we need to do this! Of course, humans will fail, mess up, disappoint, and fall. But they can also love us- unconditionally. In our world we don’t see that very often. We’re told to hold ourselves up, and we are trained not to trust anyone, since they are likely to fall (but that’s when the unconditional love switches positions, now it’s your turn). Which is why it’s so much easier to trust God’s unconditional love. But God can also use humans. We were not created to be alone, so don’t try to fight alone! Sometimes, we just need to let down our guards and let people in. We need to let go of our pride and allow others to help, forgive, and take care of us. 🙂