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The Gift of Love

Dear Friend,

I write this as I remember my best friend in the world. You probably have one too—you know, the one you do everything with and tell everything to? What a gift!

You see, two years ago in November, my friend went to heaven. I had in my life—as we all sometimes have—what I call a “911 moment,” the kind of moment that you will always remember where you were and what you were doing at the time the event happened. In this case, the event was my friend calling me at work to tell me that she had just been diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. It had spread to her liver as well.

I fell apart. I could not believe what I had just heard. I could not imagine life without my friend. She was a special treasure from God.

I was blessed to have this person in my life for several years, as she taught me many things. For one thing, I learned to be open and honest about my feelings. Often, we may think something but never speak it out loud. After all, what would others think of us? I used a phrase many times with my friend, as I would observe that it appeared she was being blessed in so many ways, and I felt in my heart that perhaps God just liked her best and that maybe she was more pleasing to Him than I was.

Instead of just keeping this thought to myself, I would laughingly say, “I think God likes you best!” Of course, she would always reply back, “No, He doesn’t.”

One day, however, I said that very statement to her, and she simply said, “Well, if you think so.” I was really taken aback. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7 that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. For me, in my heart, I truly believed that God liked her better, that he loved her—and pretty much everyone else—more than me. I always felt that I was just not quite good enough. I felt that there was something lacking within me. My friend had made that comment to provoke me into taking a look at what was truly in my heart. She knew that God did not love her more. It was her sincere desire for me to know it in my heart and not just in my head. As a matter of fact, that was one of our last conversations.

As I began to think about this over time, what I saw within my heart was that I compared myself to my friend. I always felt that I did not quite measure up. Have you ever had a thought like that? I would venture to say most of us have. You see it all the time, especially in our world today, where so much is focused on our appearance and achievements in life.

But if we believe that our looks, our career, (or lack thereof), our spouse (or lack of one), or any number of things in some way make us more acceptable to God and His love, then we are greatly deceived, and our true identity in Him is misplaced. If we base our perception of God’s love for us on anything other than His eternal word, then we will be like the dog chasing its tail. We will always be looking to fill the void within our hearts.

The truth is that God loves each of us the same. Can you open your heart and allow that love to flow and receive all that He has to give you with gratitude?

I will leave you with this. In Mark 12:30–31 are the two greatest commandments of all: Love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

So you see, God not only loves you, but His desire is for you to love Him, love yourself, and in turn love your neighbors as well.

Pamela Dowling


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