When Loving Jesus Becomes About More Than What He Does for Us

Are we loving Jesus for what He does for us or for who He is?

Loving Jesus

22 years ago, I experienced one of the most devastating events in my life: the death of my unborn baby. This child would have been my firstborn.

Up until that time I loved and feared God in an expectant manner. I understood Him to act in accord with His sovereignty and divine nature and simply provide what I thought I needed.

Then tragedy struck, and the Lord took me on a journey to really know and love Him.

When I first suspected a problem with my pregnancy, I held onto hope. Singing to my unborn and beseeching God simultaneously.

When we were told our baby was gone, I let go of hope.

I cried. I screamed. And then I became silent and hopeless.

In my mind, God remained sovereign and divine, but in His “refusal” to save my child, I questioned much of what I believed about His goodness and compassion.

God Cares

I reasoned that if He cared about me He would have acted. If He was a God of relationship, He would have intervened.

Certainly, He could have prevented my pain. Certainly, He could have saved my child.

A month or so into my hopeless grieving, the Lord’s love for me became undeniable.

In a dream, He showed me my daughter. He even went so far as to tell me her name. And He whispered to my heart:  “She’s with me. She’s fine.”

He cared enough to rescue me from my darkness. He cared enough to pursue me. He cared enough to bring my daughter to Him.

Although not what I would have chosen at that time, God had saved her. He took her to walk with Jesus in Heaven, where there is no pain and no tears.

How beautiful is that!

As the enormity of His compassion for me … for my unborn child … for each of us … sank in, I began to see God in a new way.

Still sovereign and divine, I now knew Him as a personal God as well. A God who loves and cares for each one of us, intimately and uniquely.

Like a good father, God doesn’t give what His children think they need but what He knows they need.

God doesn't give what His children think they need but what He knows they need. Click To Tweet

And as children, we don’t always understand why our Father answers that way but we trust Him because we know He loves us and wants the best for us.

Loving Jesus

I began to realize that I had cast God in a mold I had created, a version I found more palatable and understandable in human terms. I loved Him for what He would give to me, not for who He is.

Like the Jews of old, I expected a different looking King (Matthew 21). My expectations had gotten in the way of loving Jesus. 

Like the Jews of old, I expected a different looking King. My expectations had gotten in the way of loving Jesus. Click To Tweet

With this realization I began to look for how God truly loves me.

I began to notice His love notes.

A field full of bluebells.

An oriole feeding out of my cat dish.

Sun peeking through the storm cloud at a time when they also gathered in my day.

A kind word.

A warm hug.

An apt word.

His strength to take the next step.

His grace at just the right moment.

All the beautiful little grace drops sprinkled throughout each of our days are God’s love notes to us.

And I found myself truly loving Him, not simply loving what I hoped He’d give to me.

And I love Him all over again and all the more each time I am pleasantly surprised by the sweetness of His caring that’s just for me.

What the Lord freely gives is much richer than what we expect from Him, providing fertile ground for our love for Him to grow deep and true. 

Loving Jesus is an ongoing act of trust. A beautiful journey of surrendering what we expect and embracing what He provides. It’s saying I know You have my best in mind.

Loving Jesus is a beautiful journey of surrendering what we expect and embracing what He provides. Click To Tweet

It’s following Him wherever He leads because we can’t imagine being with anyone else.

And every time we surrender our expectations and say yes to His plan… every time we say “Lord, please take this cup, but not my will but yours,” we demonstrate our love for Him all over again.

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
“Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
Reflections: Do you love Jesus for what He might give to you or for who He is? Are you willing to surrender your expectations and say yes to following Him wherever He leads?

I am always thrilled to link up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday and this week’s prompt, “loving Jesus for the 1st time, all over again.” Click on the image to check out the wonderful encouragement.

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “When Loving Jesus Becomes About More Than What He Does for Us
  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) says:

    Julie: While I have not lost a child, I was startled when our son was born with a congentital birth defect. His condition could have been a lot more severe. I now believe God allowed this to happen to him in order to foster my spiritual growth and compassion for others.

    • Julie Sunne says:

      He often uses those startling and difficult things to do just that, Cecelia! And He knew, with His help you’d be the perfect mother for your son. God bless you.

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