Oh How He Loves Me!

I am Maria. This is my story of how Jesus Christ revealed Himself to me and brought me to Himself.

In October 1987, I got stomach ulcers. Being sick made me examine my life to find the cause of the ulcers. I found a counselor at the local university and spent some time with her. During my conversations with her, I realized I was carrying a load of problems that were not mine to carry, they belonged to someone else. I also had a weight of shame that was overwhelming.

She encouraged me to get right with my dad, whom I had hurt. I had to write a letter to him and then read it to him. At first I balked because it meant that I had to humble myself and ask for forgiveness, but if I was unwilling to do this, I could not take the second step. Though it was very difficult, I met with him, read the letter to him, and then we had a true father – daughter talk. I asked for forgiveness and then, much to my surprise, he asked for forgiveness!

When I shared with her my meeting with my dad, she was delighted. I could now move on to the second step. She said something that I will never forget, “Maria, God is very important to you. It seems to me that you need to get right with Him.”

She was right. I could no longer say, “I’m a good person” and believe it. My eyes had been opened and I saw what I was:  A miserable sinner. I needed to make things right with God, or I was not going to be able to live with the shame that burdened me. I needed His forgiveness and to know that He loved me, so I began to search for Him with all my heart.

But I did not know how to go about getting right with God. Then I thought of the one person who could tell me — my truest friend, Wendy. She was the only real Christian I knew, only I did not know how to contact her. For whatever reason, I could not find her address nor phone number. By Christmas I was desperate to find her, but it seemed that every attempt I made to find her was being blocked.

My oldest brother gave me a Bible for Christmas. I began to read it, but most of it did not make sense. The new year and my birthday came and went, and still no word from Wendy.

I still saw the counselor, only not as often as before. I was beginning to losing heart. I thought I would never find Wendy and, therefore, not find God.

Then one cold Wednesday night, in mid January 1988, I was sitting in my apartment, eating food that did not satisfy, wondering if I would ever find Wendy and God, when the phone rang. I answered it and a voice said, “Hi there, Maria. Do you remember this voice from your past?” It was Wendy! Dear, dear Wendy, most faithful friend and servant of God, calling me when I most needed to hear from her.

The first thing I cried out was, “Oh, Wendy, He loves me, He loves me!” Tears streamed down my face. I told her I had been looking for her for several months but could not find her. I shared with her my search for God, His forgiveness, and His love; she told me about the love of her life, Jesus Christ.

All along I thought I had been searching for Him, but He had been with me, preparing my heart and soul for that night. He had been drawing me to Him and at the right moment, He came to me, through a phone call from the only person who truly knew Him.

In the space of a few moments everything changed. I had gone from being lonely, amid family and friends, unloved in the way I needed to be loved, and wretched with the burden of shame, to belonging, being loved exactly how I needed to be loved, and joyful at being forgiven. The most remarkable thing about being forgiven was that the burden of shame was gone!

That night, I gave myself to Jesus; and for the first time in my life, I truly loved Him. He gave me a hunger for Him, for His word, and for being with others who genuinely knew Him.

Almost twenty-three years have passed since Jesus came to this lost lamb and found her. Still, there is much work to be done in breaking, molding, and conforming her into His image. But the time will come when the earthly work will be completed and I will behold Him face-to-face. Until that time comes, I will continue to sing the song of the redeemed and bless Him, who loved me so much that He died for me and brought me into His fold.

Oh, how I yearn for Him! I long for His arms to be wrapped around me in greeting; I long to hear His voice. I long to bow before Him and confess Him as my Lord.

I learned a song at the beginning of my journey with Him that describes what He did for me, it is called, “Oh How He Loves You and Me.” I hope you enjoy singing it too.

Oh, how He loves you and me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give;
Oh, how He loves you, Oh, how He loves me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.

Jesus to Calv’ry did go,
His love for mankind to show.
What He did there brought hope from despair.
Oh, how He loves you, Oh, how He loves me,
Oh how He loves you and me.

Oh, how He loves you and me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give;
Oh, how He loves you, Oh, how He loves me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.

 

 

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