TITLE: Are You Loved?
DATE: January 29, 2019
TEXT: John 9: 1-3 – ESV - As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him
The question I put to you is this: “Does God love you? Indeed, does God even like you?
It probably shouldn’t take you a long time to share your answer; after all, it isn’t a trick question. Does God love you? Does God wish to bless you or does He have it in for you?
It’s not an entirely foolish question.
In World War I, there was a British officer by the name of Major Summerford. In February of 1918, as he was crossing a Flanders’ bridge, a flash of lightning knocked him off his horse. The horse was instantly killed. Summerford was spared, although he was paralyzed from the waist down. If you had been Summerford would you say God loved you? I mean, after all, you hadn’t been killed like your horse…or would you say the Lord didn’t love you because you had been hit by lightning and were partially paralyzed? Summerford’s story continues.
The officer’s disability caused him to be released from service and he retired to Canada’s Vancouver Island. One day, 1924 was the year, as a partially rehabilitated Summerford was fishing from the banks of a river, lightning hit the tree under which he was sitting. The tree was shattered by the bolt.
And Summerford… Summerford’s right side was paralyzed. Now, would that second lightning strike make you wonder if God loves you?
It took almost two years of therapy before the-human-lightning rod, Major Summerford was strong enough, mobile enough to take regular strolls through the neighborhood parks. Summerford was taking such a constitutional when, on a summer’s day in 1930, another lightning bolt found him. He was paralyzed until the day he died two years later.
If you had been Summerford during those days, how would you have answered a reporter who asked, “After three shots of lightning, do you think God loves you?” What would you have said?
Now I really ought to leave the story of Major Sommerford, but I simply have to tell you the rest.
Four years after Summerford’s burial a great storm rolled over the town… lightning was everywhere. Not even their cemeteries had been spared. Indeed. One memorial stone had been struck and destroyed. I don’t need to tell you it belonged to Major Summerford.
Now I have to be honest, I don’t know if the story of Major Summerford is true or not. My research has brought forth people who are willing to argue for and against his reality. I can tell you almost every person I know, sooner or later, has felt like a Summerford. They have felt the Lord has no use for them… and maybe even has it in for them.
If you have ever felt that way, may I point to the nameless blind man who was healed by the Savior. Now there was a man who could easily have felt abandoned by the Lord. But that was not the case. God used the man’s blindness to show God’s love, not His displeasure, with this man.
Now it is true the Lord has turned His back on Someone in history. But it happened only once when Jesus was left alone on the cross, carrying our sins, dying to rescue us. And now, we who have seen the depth of Gods love, rejoice in the risen Redeemer Whose life, suffering, death and resurrection answers the question once and for all: Yes, God loves you.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord for my doubts, I repent; for Your love I rejoice. In the Name of the Savior I pray. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html