Has anybody ever told you that? And have you, like me, ever thought it sounded just a little hollow? “Everything will be fine,“ I hear, “cause there’s some invisible, Divine guy whose love makes everything okay!” Slim comfort. At best, it can sound like a cop out from actually dealing with real life. At worst, it can sound downright delusional.
But recently, I came across this excerpt from a 1586 letter by Jesuit Robert Southwell. It gave me a refreshing image for understanding that exclamation “Jesus loves you!”:
If you love a friend so much, if he or she is so attractive that everything he asked of you, you would agree to; and if it is so sweet to sit and talk with him, describe your mishaps to him–then with how much more trust should you betake yourself to God, the God of goodness, converse with him, show him your weakness and distress, for he has greater care of you than you have of yourself, indeed he is more intimately you than you are.
So this Someone cares about me in much the same way that I care about the people that I love? In other words, it’s not that Jesus fixes my broken life from afar; it’s that he holds me the same way I hold the people that I love. It’s an analogy of loving that I can relate to, because I have both given and received that kind of love. Southwell takes God’s love out of the clouds and down to earth, where we live. In the process he converts what can sound like condescending drivel into inspiration and even consolation.