Monday, May 29, 2023

Does God Really Love Everyone?

 I normally do okay in the MRI machines, but during my last set of scans—when l’d been in the MRI machine for almost two hours—I started freaking out pretty bad.

I knew I needed to think of a good memory, and thoughts of when I played the violin in Rough Stock came to mind. We opened for a lot of big-name bands, and had a really great time jamming at private parties and corporate events. Those years felt magical, but the more I thought about it, my memory turned to performing at a certain farmers’ convention. We’d played our intro songs and sat down so the guest speaker could talk.

A very well-respected farmer got up and began his speech by telling a strange story about a man named Zeke. 

“Zeke had a really bad year,” he said. “All of his crops died. And at one point during the season, he finally asked God, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ Well, the next year, not only did his crops die but his wife left him and his kids stopped talking to him too. He again asked God, ‘What is going on?’”

The speaker paused for effect, looking around, and a lot of the farmers leaned forward, listening. “Well, the next year, Zeke got really sick and doctors told him it was terminal. He finally screamed, ‘God! Why are you doing this to me?’ At that point, the clouds opened up, and a booming voice said, ‘It’s because I hate you, and I just wanna see ya suffer.’”

Everybody in the audience broke out laughing. But I just stood there, timidly holding my fiddle offstage. This joke shook me to the core, and I thought, “Oh, my gosh. Does God really hate certain people? And if He does—well, I’m no better than anyone else—does that mean He might hate me too?”

Now, that I’m older (and not much wiser) I do believe that God loves everyone. At least I really, really hope He does. Despite my convictions, this story has always stuck with me. (Zeke is actually the name of my son who died, and this joke fed my fears.) 

Anyway, while in the MRI machine this last time, thinking about the farmers’ convention and poor, troubled Zeke, I started crying and hyperventilating. No matter how unfounded it seemed outside of that claustrophobia-inducing contraption, unrealistic thoughts poured through my brain in the moment: Does God hate me? Could it be true? 

A tech must’ve seen me in the camera they use for brain MRIs because her voice shot over the intercom, and she asked if I was okay.

“No!” I sobbed. “Can I come out? Pa-pa-please. My hurt leg is shaking. I’m in so much pain.”

“You can, but you’ve almost made it two hours. And if I bring you out, we’ll have to start all over again.”

“No.” I took three long breaths. “I…I can do this.” I had to calm myself down. Plus, Mike and my parents were out in the waiting room and they’d been there long enough already. 

Looking back, I’m so glad I found the strength to stay because something unforgettable happened.

We’re all taught that God loves us—to the point that it was actually the punchline of a farmer’s joke: the idea that God wouldn’t love someone. But while amid whirring machines on that rock-hard imaging table, I started thinking, “Why do people suffer? Why do we go through such terrible things? Why am I going through such hardships with this new brain tumor?” and I suddenly thought about the Hebrew word for love.

There are a lot of different words to describe love in Hebrew. This can be romantic or platonic. They even have a word specifically for the kind of love that God has for each of us. The root of THAT kind of love actually means… “loyalty.”

I can’t tell you how powerful this realization has seemed because loyalty isn’t about preventing hardships or stopping pain; it’s about sticking by somebody’s side even when it’s tough and loving them through it all.

As I thought about this, I felt that God somehow seemed to be with me, even though I’m so flawed and I can be an angel with one wing in the fire. I calmed down and actually made it through the rest of the scan. And to think, I also learned something along the way. 

I know that God does love us, but maybe it’s not always about intervening in our lives and stunting growth. I guess I just realized that maybe God’s love is much better than I imagined. He’s loyal, and I’m glad He’s there, sticking by our sides for whenever we need Him the most.

1 comment:

  1. God does surely love everyone. He sent His one and only son to die on a cross in our place. Jesus says to believe he is God’s son and died for yours and my sins. You will truly be saved and be in paradise with him and see your son once again. God’s word has over 3000 promises for us. This is the best one. A free gift. You don’t need to do anything but Believe. He truly was with you in that MRI machine.