After spending several days stuck at home due to weather, I decided to venture out yesterday morning to work at Starbucks. My goal was to finish editing a Bible curriculum I was contracted to write, so I found a spot in the coffee shop, spread out pages of lesson plans next to my open Bible, and got started.
At one point, a teenage boy walked up to my small table in the corner. When I looked up, he was standing directly in front of me, noticeably nervous.
“This may seem weird, but I feel like I need to tell you something,” he stammered. It took him a minute to find the words, but when he finally did, I was kind of surprised at their simplicity.
“Jesus loves you.”
I don’t know what I expected him to say, but that wasn’t it. I made small talk with him for a minute, and he shared his anxiety about heading back to the Christian rehab facility he currently attends. As God would have it, my Bible was open to Matthew 6, and I read him a few verses that warn us against worry since God sees us and cares for our needs (Matthew 6:25-34).
After the young man left, I tried to get back to work, but I was perplexed. I wonder why he chose to tell me about Jesus’ love, I thought. There are several people in Starbucks right now, and I’m the only one with a Bible on the table. I applaud his courage, and I agree with his message, but maybe it was meant for someone else.
It turns out the message was meant for me after all.
Jesus loves me. It’s a simple truth every kid in Sunday school knows. But knowing words isn’t the same as believing a message.
I replayed the words in my mind, emphasizing them one at a time. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me. The familiar words became fresh, and the simplicity of the phrase was overshadowed by its staggering reality. I am fully known, totally accepted, and perfectly loved by Jesus Christ Himself. The same Jesus who upholds the universe by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). The One who couldn’t be held by death (Acts 2:24). The One at whose name every knee will eventually bow (Philippians 2:9-10).
Yesterday’s experience reminded me that there are some things we never outgrow. The foundational truths of Scripture aren’t to be forgotten as we dive headfirst into what appear to be deeper theological waters. Instead, we should rehearse the “basics” constantly, recognizing that the time-tested stability of our foundation is what gives shape and support to the rest of our beliefs.
“Jesus loves you” was a message I needed to hear, and I believe you do too. Age, college degrees, or paid ministry positions don’t exempt us from needing the love that’s better than life itself (Psalm 63:3). Likewise, mistakes, disappointments, or a long list of doubts can’t disqualify us from receiving the love that doesn’t let go.
Maybe we adults can learn a thing or two from the kids who sing the well-known tune with such enthusiasm and conviction. “Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so.” As you read the words, maybe your mind is flooded with voices that tell you He can’t, doesn’t, or won’t love you. Silence them by stating simply, “Yes, Jesus loves me.” And since our hearts need constant reassurance, say it again, “Yes, Jesus loves me.”
As long as we live, we’ll never outgrow the need for reminders of the mind-blowing, game-changing, destiny-altering love of Jesus for His people. One Day, though, the reminders will end, not because we’ve outgrown our need for His love, but because we’ll have been brought into the fullness of it forever. Finally face to face, the Lover of our souls will confirm for all eternity the “yeses” we preached to ourselves in faith.
He loves us, and nothing and no one will stand in His way (Romans 8:38-39).