Home Welcome Resource Center Bookstore

Svenska

Norsk Deutsch Español
               

 

Do You Love Me

Joe DiCarlo

 

Encouragement came to me in an unexpected way recently and I’d like to share it with you. I have been going to the courthouse steps recently to attend trustee’s sales and acquire properties for a client. There, I’ve met a man and his son, both of whom facilitate those sales each weekday. John, the father, is also an ordained minister and he and his son, Jim, are Christian men whose devotion to the Lord, passion for the scriptures, and hunger to serve the Lord is exemplary.

The first sale that I attended last November proved to be more than a chance encounter with these two trustee sale “criers” as they are called. God has used people to convey His truth to me many times in my life, but this was more of a “divine appointment.” You see, just prior to meeting John and Jim, I had been seeking a specific answer from God concerning a gift of the Holy Spirit that should characterize all believers. I had been asking God to teach me how to experience a deeper love for Him and for my fellow man. Since the first day I met these two men, I’ve genuinely liked them and enjoyed their lively exchanges about scripture, biblical principles, life experiences, and John’s knowledge of the Koine Greek language of the New Testament.

We started going to a local café when time permitted after the trustee sales, and after many interesting exchanges, I decided to share with John my desire for a deeper level of love for God and others. John is one of the most intelligent men I’ve met in my life, and that doesn’t get in the way of his deep love for the Lord and willingness to be used of God as is sometimes the case with those who pursue intellectualism purely for ego gratification. When I expressed this desire, he looked down at the table and said that he was going to share something with me, and when he looked up, I could see that he was quite somber and genuine about whatever he was about to share. “I was taken to Calvary by the Lord,” he said. My jaw dropped about a quarter of an inch as I sat momentarily speechless. Finally, I ventured, “You mean the literal event, the one 2,000 years ago?” He nodded. What followed was his true and very personal account of an event in his life so astounding that it left me deeply touched, more than a little stunned, and greatly encouraged about God’s willingness to show us His unchanging love in a deeper way.

It turned out that John, too, despite having ministered to others for years, once struggled with having affirmation from the Lord that he was truly loved by God. At the two-year mark of his Christian walk, he desperately needed to know that his Sunday school ministry was something pleasing to God and not merely an example of “faking it.” Finally, he was unable to continue without an affirmation to his own burning question: “Lord, do You love me?” He told me of the day that he was driving his car on Highway 49, weeping and praying fervently that the Lord would answer that ache that we all feel at times to know God’s love for us. “I was driving one second at Hwy 80 near Auburn, and the next second I was at Calvary” he said. “I was given a viewpoint just above the crowd’s heads. There were many people gathered there that day, and there was fine dust in the air where I stood very close to the cross on which Jesus was hanging.” My jaw dropped another quarter of an inch as I whispered a couple of words that came to me that our Lord spoke concerning that day: “I thirst.” He continued: “All of the pictures or other renditions of Jesus Christ you’ve ever seen, including Mel Gibson’s movie depiction…none of them are even close. The crown of thorns were cruel and pushed deeply into his flesh. Every inch of his body was covered in blood except for his fingertips and his eyes.”

I immediately thought of the testimony of little Colton Burpo in his book, “Heaven is for Real,” that a recent musical guest at our church, Jim Miller, shared with us. It seems that little Colton was most enraptured with Jesus’ eyes in his description of our Lord. Despite the fact that my throat was tightening and tears were starting to well in both my eyes and John’s, I somehow managed to ask him what the Lord’s eyes looked like. He responded: “He looked at me…no…He looked in me.” John was silent for a few seconds, obviously once again experiencing that life changing moment as though it had just happened. Regaining his voice, he continued: “I found myself driving again and had to pull over. I had only been a few minutes at the place where Christ was being crucified, but when I looked around, I was now in Truckee, which should have taken an hour and a half to drive. I’ve never doubted His love for me since that day. Nobody can ever convince me that Jesus Christ doesn’t love me.”

The connections that God makes personally, even indirectly among His children using testimonies such as John’s, shatters all human barriers born of pretentiousness, embarrassment, pride, and other sins that seek to stand between the Lord and His love for His children. This newly acquainted brother in the Lord did more for me that morning that he may ever know as Jesus spoke through his testimony to me of God’s love. I have shared it with you in the hope that encouragement might come to all who hear of this great gift that was given to a humble pastor in a small town.

I won’t attempt to qualify or compare his testimony with reminders of how Jesus appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Did not our hearts burn within us) or of how Paul was transported (whether in the body or out, I know not) to the third heaven because I’m convinced that what this dear brother of mine experienced and had the courage to share with me was genuinely of God, and I know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He can reveal himself to anyone He chooses, and in any way that He chooses to do so.

May God bless you richly as you seek a deeper love for Him and others. It is clearer than ever why His greatest commandments are that you should love the Lord your God and that you should love your neighbor as yourself.


Volume 15, Issue 1