During my sophomore year of high school, my basketball coach would gather the team into a circle and give us a “thought for the day”. One day she asked us the question, “would you rather be wanted or needed?”. We all pondered the question for a few minutes and then everyone shared their opinion. Once we were finished discussing, my coach shared that she’d rather be wanted. I didn’t understand why, I’ve always thought it was better to be needed because people can wake up one morning and decide that they no longer want you. Recently I’ve began to change my perspective on the question and compare it to the way that God wants us.
"No matter how far we stray, we will never be too lost to be rescued by the love of Christ."
The Bible is God’s love letter to us. It is a combination of 66 books that tell a story of how relentless the love of God is. One of these stories take place in Luke chapter 15, where Jesus is seen sharing a parable with a crowd. “Then Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” Now before I begin to dissect this parable and discuss it’s meaning, I want us to shift our attention towards the crowd of people that Jesus was speaking to. When Jesus spoke the righteous people of the city did not surround Him, instead tax collectors and sinners did. In fact as the crowd gathered around Jesus’ feet, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law scorned Him and muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus sat with the outcasts of the city and instead of looking at them with judgement and hatred, He looked at them with compassion and spoke to them with sympathy as He shared a parable. Looking back at the parable any regular shepherd would of stayed with the ninety-nine sheep and forgotten about the lost one, but this shepherd was different. He cared about each individual sheep because they were more than just a number to him. The good shepherd is Jesus and we are His sheep. Jesus did not leave Heaven and die a brutal death because of all the good deeds we have done. He died because He knew that we were lost in our sins and desperately needed to be found by Him. No matter how far we stray, we will never be too lost to be rescued by the love of Christ. Luke 15:10 illustrates God’s joy for the saved sinner, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”Jesus forgives the unforgivable, accepts the rejected, searches for the forgotten, chases after the lost, and wants the unwanted.
"The world’s love is damaging, but God’s love is restoring."
The concept of how much God loves us is hard to grasp, especially when all of your experiences with love have left you broken. How can you accept the idea of God wanting you, when you feel as if your own parents didn’t even want you? How can you allow yourself to experience God’s unconditional love, when your last relationship was solely based on conditions? Here’s the thing, the love that the world offers cannot be compared to the love of God. 1 John 4:8 says that God is love and in order to understand that, we must first know the definition of love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 defines love, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Therefore since God is love, these are all the attributes of God and also the way that He loves us. God’s love never fails, never changes, and never gives up. The world’s love is damaging, but God’s love is restoring.
God hears our impure thoughts, and is aware of our past, present, and future sins, but He still loves us.
Psalm 139 was written by David and begins with describing the omniscience of God. In verses 1-6, David reveals that God knows everything about us. He is aware of all of our thoughts (v. 2) and is familiar with all of our ways (v.3), before a word is on our tongues He knows it completely (v. 4). The passage goes on to portray how meticulous God was in creating us, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” God hears our impure thoughts, and is aware of our past, present, and future sins, but He still loves us.
"We will never be able to outrun the love of God"
There are many names that the Bible assigns to God such as, God Almighty, YHWH, and the great I AM, but I think one of the most astounding names that we call God is Abba. The word Abba is an Aramaic word that most closely translates as “daddy”. This signifies the intimate relationship between a father and his child. Romans 8:14-16 states, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” We are children of God, sons and daughters of the King; not because we deserve to be, but because He didn’t want to live in eternity without us. Now since we have been made heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), nothing will ever have the power to separate us from Him. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39). We will never be able to outrun the love of God and there’s nothing we can do to make Him love us less.
"...He didn’t choose us because He needed us. God chose us because He wanted us."
God did not choose us because of how righteous we are, and He didn’t choose us because He needed us. God chose us because He wanted us. So in case you're wondering, I did change my answer to my coach’s question. I’d rather be wanted too, but only if it’s in the same way that God wants us. 1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”.