God has a way of wrapping His arms tightly around me just when I need it most. Sometimes through a friend, a phone call, a letter, a post I see online, a song, or just that deep peace of knowing I’m loved and a child of His forever, no matter what. The past few days have been difficult for me with a lot going on. Needless to say, it’s been stressful and hectic. Time with God has slipped to a minimum and my spiritual journey has hit a low point. Mondays are my clinical days in which I have to be at the hospital by 6:15 in the morning to do ICU rounds with a preceptor nurse. Driving along the dark roads at 5:30 in the morning by myself and headed to a stressful day in the hospital can be mentally depressing some days. Sometimes I have to roll down the windows, embrace the freezing wind, and blast Thomas Bergersen from my car speakers just to boost my mood. But this past Monday was different. I didn’t mind the solemnity of the morning ride. In fact, I welcomed it! I spent most of the time talking to God and telling Him all the things that were going wrong in my life and recounting all the mistakes I’ve made. I felt unworthy of His love. I’ve let down so many people and I questioned whether I’m actually being a blessing to those around me or not. I drove quietly for a few minutes, letting the reality of the words I’d just been speaking sink in. I was in autopilot; no cars around me, no road signs, no billboards. Slowly everything was fading into the background as my mind processed the prayer of my heart. A prayer which I felt but didn’t quite have the words to describe. Unworthiness. Emptiness. Brokenness. Multiple Bible stories flashed through my mind. There was a vague picture of that oppressive Garden, black as midnight, with a broken man sobbing tears of betrayal. Denial. “How many times have I adamantly proclaimed I would stand up for You and yet then deny Your saving power?” I asked. Suddenly I realized that the radio had been playing quietly in the background the entire time. “I want you as you are, not as you ought to be. Won't you lay down your guard and come to me?” I reached down and turned the music up. “The shame that grips you now is crippling; it breaks My heart to see you suffering.” In that moment I wasn’t listening to Hawk Nelson at all, I could hear God speaking directly to my heart. “If you want to know how far my love can go, just how deep, just how wide; if you want to see how much you mean to me, look at my hands, look at my side. If you could count the times I say you are forgiven, it's more than the drops in the ocean.” My mind raced back several years. A little boy headed for Japan, nose pressed against the window, staring out at the ocean below which stretched into infinity. So blue. Dazzling. Nothing broke the vastness. It was breathtaking, huge, dynamic. In that instant my childlike wonder came back. God’s forgiveness, more than the drops in the ocean. “Don't think you need to settle for a substitute when I'm the only love that changes you. Open your heart, it's time that we start again.” I’m not even slightly ashamed to say that I began to cry. The tears ran freely down my face as I felt God’s love wrapping me gently in His warm embrace. That’s what love is, forgiveness. He doesn’t care whether I’ve wandered, gotten too busy, done or said things I shouldn’t have. Nothing matters. He loves me unconditionally. Once I reached the parking lot, I was still wiping the tears from my eyes and since I was early, I just sat quietly in my car. The next song that played was by Jeremy Camp. “Seated above, enthroned in the Father's love, destined to die, poured out for all mankind. God's only Son, perfect and spotless One, He never sinned but suffered as if He did.” “Wow!” I thought. The thought of leaving perfection, knowing you were coming to die. Intense! He was wrapped in his Father’s love yet chose to become wrapped in human sinfulness. The song continued, “Savior, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all our praise, You overcame! Jesus, awesome in power forever, awesome and great is Your name, You overcame!” Because that’s how love works. It changes you. It changes me. Christ overcame and He has called us to do no less. He gives us the strength through His never ending love. I don’t know where you’re at with God right now. You may be warmly enfolded in His arms or out in the cold night, searching for Him in all the wrong places. But it really doesn’t matter. Either way, He is right beside you, lavishing His never-ending love into your life. Maybe you’re depressed, annoyed, scared, sad, angry. It’s ok. Christ came and experienced it all with you. That feeling of emptiness and sorrow? Let it go. Open your heart; you’re already loved more than you know.