Most of us are familiar with Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of basic human needs: food, shelter, safety, and belonging. He asserts that these basic needs must be met before we are motivated to achieve higher levels like accomplishment or creative activity. If you take a moment to reflect on the idea of belonging, you will quickly realize its direct impact on how you view your life. The assurance that you belong, are accepted and included, is essential to feeling that your life matters and that you have something of value to offer. In matters of faith, assurance of God's love for us is the fuel which fires our generous engagement with others and with the world.
Rev. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, writes of his own experience of assurance of God's love: "In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society (meeting) in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's "Preface to the Epistle of Romans." About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."
Rev. Rueben Job, Methodist bishop and author, offers this beautiful idea of assurance: To remember who creates and recreates us, who calls us again and again, who knows us completely and who loves us unconditionally, is to be prepared, as Jesus was, for all that is to come. We need have no fear of today or anxiety about tomorrow. We belong to God who claims us as beloved children and holds us close in the embrace of strength and love. Listen and remember today that God calls your name and be transformed and sustained in all that awaits you.
He loves each of us
as if there was only one of us.
Remember that you are needed.
There is at least one important work to be done
that will not be done unless you do it.
To know and name our gifts and abilities
clues us in to God's desires for us.
We have each been given particular gifts
to help us fulfill our part in bringing
heaven on earth.
The beauty of the world
is Christ's tender smile for us
coming through nature.
I am persuaded at last
that the places I have been in my life
are either places into which I have been led by God
or places into which God has followed me
and waited to be allowed to lead me out.
The only thing that matters is that
wherever we go, wherever we grow,
God undergirds us, God goes with us,
God goes ahead of us,
God will be there to welcome us.
Fear knocked at the door.
And lo, no one was there.
Your Heavenly Father knows what you need,
before you ask him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd;
he gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking, I will hear.
Now glory be to God
who by his mighty power at work within us
is able to do far more than we would
ever dare ask or even dream of,
infinitely beyond our highest prayers,
desires, thoughts or hopes.