Welcome to February ladies, the month of LOVE. That infamous time of year in which many of you will receive gobs of chocolate and flowers from your dream boat Prince Charming, while others of you will roll your eyes and write a bitter Facebook status about the commercialization of love. And then there are those of you who have no idea that February is any different than any other month of the year (“who is St. Valentine and what’s with all the roses everywhere?”). All kidding aside, I want to write briefly about a different kind of love, and where we can find it at a time that many of us might feel as though we aren’t wanted.
Let me start with a story.
Recently our three year old Evie, in an effort to be a “big helper”, ran across the house proudly, carrying her one-year-old brother’s dirty (very dirty) diaper, and placed it right in the hands of her daddy. She was beaming at her “big girl” accomplishment, so proud that she had done mommy and daddy the great favor of changing a really smelly diaper. And the evidence of her accomplishment came in the form of this gift to us, that really and truly belonged…in the trash can. That is where dirty diapers go, right?
In Isaiah we read that “all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (64:4)
Which leads me to ask the question: are my gifts to God, at best, like a dirty diaper (if you will)? And if so, does He even want them?
This might sound like a really discouraging question. The world around us has a way of making us feel so unloved, and unwanted. Our friends at school can make us feel inadequate. Sometimes even our own families give us the feeling that we’re not loved or wanted. We often search and strive to find places that we will fit in and feel like we are accepted and desired. Sometimes we find any way we can to be loved by that Prince Charming I mentioned earlier, or maybe we become someone we’re not to fit in with a certain crowd. When we search for these feelings of acceptance outside of what God has planned for us, it can be a recipe for sin and despair.
So let’s talk about God.
You see, you can’t give God anything He needs or couldn’t have without your help. He is, after all, the Creator of everything. My life and the things that I accomplish pale in comparison with His beauty and majesty and look disgusting next to Perfection. And besides, He might not look as attractive to us at the moment as the shiny things of the world catching our eye. So why even try?
Because God WANTS our filthy rags.
When Evie comes to us proudly bearing gifts of gross diapers, we don’t scold and scoff and tell her how disgusting and useless her gift is (although, don’t worry, we do direct her toward the trash bin). No, we proudly and gladly accept those gifts, because they represent a desire in her to obey the things we’ve taught her, and a desire to please us. In the same way, we are taught all throughout God’s Word that when we are clothed with Christ, He loves and accepts us even at our weakest. Romans 5:8 tells us that “God demonstrates His own love for us in that even while were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That is love and acceptance that you won’t find anywhere in the world.
Do you ever fear that you can’t approach God because you’re not at your best? Maybe you’ve stumbled one too many times today, and you feel like God is too disappointed to want to hear from you.
This week, this month, every time you feel the rejection of the world around you, if that boy doesn’t call you back, if you’re friend says unkind things about you behind your back, whatever it may be, remember that through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, our Father beams with pride and love for us when we bring our little gifts of “dirty diapers”. God loves you exactly the way you are, not because of the things you do, but because He created you. The world will always find a way to leave us feeling alone, but our Father has His arms open to us always, never to leave. You won’t hear a better love story than that in this crazy month of LOVE!