By Lynn Burgess
A verse that has been on my mind lately is John 3:16. If you’re familiar with the bible at all, you probably know this verse…
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is arguably one of the most well-known, recited verses in the Bible.
I, like many of you, learned this verse as a little girl. It was the first bible verse I memorized, and I’ve recited it more times than I can remember.
There’s a lot packed into that short verse…the picture of God’s sacrificial love as He gave His Son for us…the fact that all we have to do is believe in Him to receive the greatest gift of all time – eternal life.
One part that stands out to me, is the word whoever.
This verse is written to the “whoever’s”…whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever you are doing or have done. It is an “arms wide open” invitation from God. It is for anybody, anywhere, anytime.
It’s not just a Bible verse that we teach our kids…it’s for hurting mothers, broken fathers, lonely seniors, and confused teenagers.
When my grandkids come to my house or see me at church, they immediately start yelling my name with delight, knowing they are about to be hugged and kissed and swung around
They aren’t thinking of the last time we were together when they bashed a hole in the sheetrock with their hoverboard, or the time they had to sit in time out because they carried Papaw’s tools out into the woods to build a fort and left them out there to rust, or the time that they picked up a rock in our driveway and wrote on one of the cars!
None of these things are going through their mind. Instead, they run to me, confident that I will be there ready to love them… as if none of that ever happened. And they are right! I just want to be with them and love on them with no thought of what they’ve done in the past.
Isn’t that how God loves us? Psalm 103:12 says that he forgets our sins and removes them from us…as far as the east is from the west.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that our sins could be forgiven by just believing this verse and accepting the truth of John 3:16. But when I think about how I love my grandkids and how easy it is to forgive them and believe the best about them, it reminds me that this kind of love is not only possible, but it can be true for me, too!
So, if you’ve ever wondered if you could be loved like that, the answer is YES! Jesus already loves you that way and all you have to do is believe it and accept it! It’s really that simple!
Burgess is Equipping Pastor for New Hope Church