“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you'” (Jer. 31:3).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,… to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:3,6).
Mason, son #2, came into our world as “damaged material.” The diagnosis the doctors gave was curt, tactless, numbing, and totally devastating: “Mrs. Gillham, your son has Hurler’s Syndrome. He is incurably ill and will be hopelessly retarded.” That proved to be true. His life, so brief and wasted as far as the world is concerned, has touched literally millions of people.
“Mace” could sing one song with great gusto—at least he could get a good start on it: “Jesus loves me this I know … Yes …” He’d hold that first “yes” as long as he could, then get tickled and almost fall out of the chair gasping and giggling.
I never doubted for a moment that Jesus loved Mace. It didn’t matter that he would never walk down the aisle, take the pastor by the hand, and invite Jesus into his heart. It was entirely irrelevant that he could not quote a single verse of Scripture, that he would never be able to comprehend God’s love, that he would never be a dad, or have an influential position in the world.
What I could not comprehend was that Jesus could love Mason’s mother. My technique for getting love from the people in my world was to perform for them, harshly evaluating my every word and action. I was convinced that if anyone saw me when I wasn’t performing perfectly, they wouldn’t be able to find anything in me worthy of their love.
As my limited knowledge of the Scriptures began to grow, I realized God saw me when I wasn’t performing well at all! He saw me with my hair not fixed! He knew my every thought! Oh, no! I’ve really got to perform for Him haven’t I, because I especially want Him to love me.
It wasn’t until one day in the kitchen that I realized how wrong my perspective had been.
One day Mason was sitting in his chair watching me as I was washing the dishes, at least he was looking at me. I stopped washing dishes and got down on my knees in front of Mace. I looked directly into his beautiful brown eyes and took his grubby little hands in mine: “Mason, I love you. I love you, Mason. Oh, if only you could understand how much I love you.”
He just stared. He didn’t comprehend. I wanted so desperately for my little boy to know that I loved him. Do you understand? Mace didn’t know that I loved him. He endured his pain alone and I couldn’t reach him. He was hurting and I couldn’t help him.
“My dear Mason, if only you could say to me, ‘I love you, Mother.’ I need that, Mace, I need it.”
I stood up to the sink again, crying. And then thoughts, foreign to my way of thinking, began filtering into my conscious awareness. I believe those thoughts came from God, that He spoke to me that day in my kitchen. This is what He said:
“Anabel, you don’t look at your little son and turn away in utter disgust because he’s sitting there with saliva drooling out of his mouth; you don’t shake your head, repulsed because he has dinner all over his shirt or because he’s sitting there in a dirty, smelly diaper when he ought to be able to take care of himself. Anabel, you don’t reject Mason because all the dreams you had for him will never come true. You don’t reject him because he doesn’t perform for you. You love him, Anabel, just because he’s yours. And Anabel, Mason doesn’t willfully reject your love, but you willfully reject mine. I love you, Anabel, not because you’re neat or attractive, not because you do things well, not because you perform for Me. I love you, dear one, just because you’re mine.”
[“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3]
This article is copyrighted by and syndicated courtesy of Lifetime Guarantee, Inc. (6 May, 2005 edition of eGrace). www.lifetime.org
Introductory and concluding Scripture quotations added (NKJV).