*    A LOVE STORY    *

    One day, I awakened early in the morning to watch the sunrise.  Ah, the beauty of God's creation was beyond description.  As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work.  Sitting there, I felt the Lord's presence with me.

  He asked me,  "Do you love me?"

  I answered, "Of course, God! You are my Lord and Savior!"

  Then He asked, "If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?"

  I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs and the remainder of my body. I wondered how many things I would be unable to do... things that I regularly take for granted. I answered,

  "It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You."

  Then the Lord said, "If you were blind, would you still love my creation?"

  How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them loved God and His creation in spite of their blindness.

  So I answered, "It's hard to imagine, but I would still love you."

  The Lord then asked me, "If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?"

  If I were deaf, how could I listen? Then I understood.  Listening to God's Word is more than merely using our ears, we must listen with our hearts.

  I answered, "It would be tough, but I would still listen to your Word."

  The Lord then asked, "If you were mute, would you still praise my Name?"

  How could I praise without a voice?

  Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from the depth of our heart and soul. It never matters how we sound.  And praising God is never limited to the singing of songs. We are also able to give God praise with our words of thanks.

  So I answered, "If I could never physically sing, I would still praise your Name.

  And the Lord asked, "Do you really love Me?"

  With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, "Yes Lord! I love You because You are the only true God!"

  I thought I had answered well, but God asked, "Then why do you choose to continue in sin?"

  I answered, "Because I am only human. I am in no way perfect."

  "Then why in times of peace do you stray the furthest?  Why only in times of trouble do you pray earnestly?"

  I had no answer. Only a flood of tears.

  The Lord continued: "Why sing only at fellowships and retreats?  Why seek me only in times of worship? Why ask so selfishly for things?  Why ask with such unbelief in your heart?"

  The tears continued to course down my cheeks.

  "Why are you ashamed of Me?  Why do you avoid sharing my love; my good news?  Why in times of persecution and difficulty do you cry to others when I continually offer My shoulder as a source of comfort?  Why do you make excuses when I provide you opportunities to serve?"

  I tried to answer, but there was no answer worth giving.

  "You are blessed with life.  Refuse to throw this gift away.  I have sent you messengers but you have ignored my call.  I have blessed you with talents, but you have often refused to serve.  I have revealed My Word to you, but you have failed to grow in knowledge.  I have shown My blessings to you, but you were distracted by the things of this world.  I have heard  your prayers and I have answered ALL of them."

  "Do you truly love Me?"

  I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed and ashamed. I had no excuse. What could I say to this?  I knelt down and my heart cried out, "Please forgive me Lord; I am unworthy to be your child."

  The Lord answered, "Rise up and walk in my GRACE and LOVE!!!"

  I asked, "Why do you continue to forgive me?  Why do You love me so?"

  The Lord answered, "Because you are My creation. You are My Child.  I will never abandon you.  When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you.  When you shout with joy, I will celebrate with you.  When you are down, I will encourage you.  When you stumble and fall, I will lift you up.  When you are tired, I will carry you.  When you are well, I will challenge you.  I will be with you until the end of days. I will be with you forever."

  Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so insensitive? How could I have hurt my Lord so deeply?  I asked God, "How much do You love me?"

  The Lord stretched His arms wide open, and I saw His nail-pierced hands.  I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Savior. And... for the first time, I prayed with understanding.

Author Unknown