Last week, I took my Journalism students on a field trip to the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. We toured everything from the news room to several different control rooms. The grand finale of the tour was the opportunity to view a live news broadcast. Certainly, this was an eye-opening experience for these middle school students, introducing them to many exciting career possibilities.I took over 100 photos that day, but there is one that stands out in my mind. Although it is not the most conventional photograph, the message in the photo makes all the difference. As we walked through the campus, I noticed someone had written in duct tape on the side of a trash can: “You’re loved.”

Just as I was reminded that day of the love God has for us, I want to remind you now of just how very much you are loved! You are loved unconditionally by God himself. But the love God has for us surpasses any other love in the history of mankind. He loved us so much that he gave his only Son as a ransom for us. I John 4:10 (NIV) says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Furthermore, the Bible tells us “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). We have all sinned (Rom. 3:23), but God has provided a road to redemption, all because of the great love he has for us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Bible doesn’t say God loved us a little bit. It says God so loved the world. He loved us so much that he gave his only Son, just for us. That is agape love.

Perhaps you are reading this blog, wondering what real love is like. You may have experienced a failed marriage or a broken engagement, only to question any kind of love you encounter. God’s love is greater than any love found upon this earth. His love will never fail. I John 4:16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.” Love is not something God does, but it is who he is. We can rely on his love because God is love.

Just as God is love, we should also live a life of love. Jesus said the two most important commandments were: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’” and to “‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37-39). Instead of discouraging someone, we should encourage them. Rather than pointing out someone’s faults, we should note their positive traits. Even a smile, a hug, or a pat on the back can reveal the love of God within our lives. Everything we do is either a positive reflection of God’s love or a negative representation of the love God has for us. Let us always remember that love is not just what we say, but also what we do.

You may feel as if you cannot love others because you have never experienced real love yourself. No matter what situation you find yourself in right now, God loves you. There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God (Rom. 8:37-39). If you are struggling with addiction, depression, a life-threatening illness, financial burdens, or any other circumstance that seeks to steal your joy, remember one thing: you are loved. You may be thinking, you just don’t understand. Love is not going to fix my problems. My life is completely brokenThe love of God can put the pieces of your life back together again. You may think you cannot make it because you don’t have any family to help you through this trial. Jesus will love you more than a brother would (Prov. 18:24). I John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” Jesus gave his life for love. That’s how much he loves you and me.

The same God who loved you enough to give his only Son for you will not abandon you. He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). Put your trust in Jesus Christ today. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Rest in his amazing love today, and remember, you are so loved!

In Christ’s Love,