A Love Note from the Father

It was a normal Monday centered around laundry, picking up the house after the weekend, checking progress at the flip house, and running errands. In particular, I needed to order shower heads for the flip house and then make a quick stop at the library to pick up a movie my son had requested. 

I headed into the library, not planning to peruse the book aisles, but for some reason, once I was inside, I felt compelled to check out the non-fiction section. Hmmm, what am I in the mood for? I drug my finger over a few titles and then looked down at the next shelf when something caught my eye. A red book titled My Big Bottom Blessing. Well, isn’t that an interesting title. 

I picked it up. “How Hating My Body Led to Loving My Life.” Huh, sounds like a book every woman who’s ever looked in the mirror and felt the taste of dissatisfaction should read. So I took it, grabbing three more books on my way to the front desk, because why not? 

All the while, I continued to rub at a slight pain in my neck. It was not an unusual occurrence, so I didn’t think much of it. But as the day went on, the pain increased and by evening it was undeniable. We went to bed, and at one-thirty in the morning I awoke in terrible pain. 

A Normal Monday Followed by a Not So Normal Tuesday

What was going on? I tried Tylenol and rubbing it and heat and ice, but nothing seemed to be helping. By morning my neck had completely locked up, leaving me no choice but to declare it a reading, writing, and sitting on the couch kind of day. 

Intrigued by the red book, I grabbed it out of the library basket first, trying hard to ignore the pain in my neck and the fact that I had to hold the book directly in front of my eyeballs so I could see it. (Side note: If you’ve struggled with dissatisfaction over your body, I highly recommend My Big Bottom Blessing. It’s funny, honest, and Christ-focused.) 

Anyway, I didn’t realize at the time that God was preparing me to endure some of the worst pain I have ever experienced. (Other than birthing a child, that is.) 

Stuck on the couch with an uncooperative neck, I made it through chapter six of that little red book, which just so happens (wink wink) to be the chapter that focused on the heart of God and how He’s my Father who loves me more than I will ever know. 

It’s a fact that may seem elementary, but for some reason the Father’s love hit me anew that afternoon. It’s easy to focus on the love of Christ, but how often do we focus on the love of the Father? 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.” And if God is love, then 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 (the love passage) is actually a description of the Father. 

The Father is love, the Father is kind, the Father does not envy, the Father does not boast, the Father is not proud. The Father does not dishonor others, the Father is not self-seeking, the Father is not easily angered, the Father keeps no record of wrongs. 

Sound familiar? On and on we could go, because no height, nor depth, can separate us from the Father’s love (Rom. 8:39).

Yet Sometimes There Is Still Pain 

Then, as evening arrived, I found myself in even more pain. The back of my head was throbbing, and I couldn’t move my neck at all, giving me all kinds of new insights into what God meant by calling Israel “a stiff-necked people” (Acts 7:51).

Kreg, my husband, did everything he could to make me comfortable. (A near impossible task when it feels like your head’s in a noose.) Propped against seventeen thousand pillows on the couch, I couldn’t move without excruciating pain radiating through the back of my neck. At one point, I even asked my husband to just punch me in the face and knock me out—but believe it or not, he wouldn’t do it. I had no choice but to endure this agonizing road, and honestly, I had no idea how I was going to make it through the night. 

As tears slipped down my face in protest of the jail cell of pain I’d been placed in, a truth came to the forefront of my mind, begging to take precedence over the pain. A truth God had sovereignly placed in my mind just hours before through a little red book I’d picked up at the library: The Father is love, and my Father in heaven loves me. The Father is love, and my Father in heaven loves me.

The words I’d read earlier in the day fell fresh in my pounding head, like marching orders sent straight from heaven, and I knew the LORD was with me. My pain did not negate God’s love, nor did it mean the absence of God.

The Father Is Love and My Father Loves Me

Though I was suffering, and though God did not magically take the pain away, His Providence was crystal clear to me. It was God who directed me to the library the day before and God who directed me to pick up a book I’d never heard of, by an author I’d never heard of, and take it home. It was God who’d gotten me to chapter six earlier in the day, implanting the reminder of His love in the very spot I would soon hurt the most—my head. 

And let me tell you, had God not done that, I would have laid all kinds of blame at His feet during that long and agonizing night. Where are you God? Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to deserve this? But instead of throwing daggers at God for the daggers slicing through the back of my neck, I was able to wrap my hurting head in the promise of His love and throw a few praises instead. 

There I was in agonizing pain and yet God’s love met me there (no height or depth, remember?), like an intentional love note arriving in perfecting timing, from a sovereign God. 

The Father Loves His Children

In the days to follow though the pain continued to the point that I had trouble swallowing, I knew God was with me. His perfectly timed reminder had made that clear. And I’m happy to report after a painful chiropractic visit, wherein my neck was forced to do things it wouldn’t otherwise do on its own, I’m getting better.

But that’s not the best part. The best part is that the love note God handed me in my pain is the same love note He’s handed you in yours. 

But God shows his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)

Christ upon the cross was like an intentional love note arriving in perfect timing, from a sovereign God. 

And could there be any better love note than that? My friend, whatever it is you’re walking through today, I pray the truth of God’s love will providentially find you and hold you and keep you, just as it did me. The Father is love, and my Father in heaven loves you. 

About the Author

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery

Stacey Salsbery is a farmer's wife and mother of four. When she isn't serving a meal on the side of the road, riding a tractor with her husband, or driving kids to practice, you'll find Stacey escaping the crazy life … read more …

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