"I have loved you," says the Lord. —Malachi 1:2
How does it make you feel to know that someone loves you? Many people are just a little uneasy when someone comes up to them and says, "I love you." Sometimes I say it to people I know really well. As I am about to get off the telephone, I say, "Love you," and they don't know how to respond. "Right, oh well, um ... " is often all I get in return. Once in a while, if they are used to me telling them I love them, they say, "Oh well, same to you." But it is a good feeling to know that you are loved. I want to hear it from my wife every day, and I guess she wants to hear it from me every day, too. Victor Hugo, the nineteenth-century French writer, said, "The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved."
We all have a need to be loved. When people are difficult to understand, when I wonder what makes them tick, I find that what they most need, and what they most want, is to be loved. There is nothing that breaks the hardest heart like the feeling of being loved. All of us can face terrible opposition and suffering if we feel approved of, accepted, and loved by someone whose opinion matters to us.
There is an even greater feeling than knowing another person loves you, and that is knowing that God loves you. There is no greater feeling than that. When I feel that God loves me and approves of me, I can face a thousand foes. And the message of Malachi is just that, You are loved. We all have skeletons in our closets, and God knows every one of them, yet He still says, "I love you."
Excerpted from Between the Times (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 2003).