When I was ten, my mother called my siblings and me into a room and told us our dad had been killed in a car accident. It was traumatic news, but it was even worse because I had never heard my dad tell me he loved me, not even once. And now, I never would.
The absence of those words led me to believe I wasn’t good enough to be loved. I felt eternally rejected by my father.
Have you ever felt unlovable, unloved, or rejected? It hurts, doesn’t it?
To ease the pain, I set out to find love through people and possessions. I worked hard and became a successful businessman. I accumulated many things and surrounded myself with many people.
Have you heard the old Mickey Gilley song called “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”? Well, that was me.
I reasoned that people would love me if I had a lot of stuff to offer them. I was wrong.
When people didn’t fill the void, I began looking for love in booze and drugs. Surely those substances wouldn’t reject me. High under their influence, I felt confident and secure. But the high they offered always let me down.
I’m reminded of a mission trip to China I took not long ago. Before I returned home, I had time to visit a shopping center in Beijing. I found all sorts of amazing deals on designer merchandise—things selling at a fraction of what I’d pay back home. Excited, I picked up four famous-maker jackets for $15.00 each. What a deal!
Not really. Those coats turned out to be knockoffs. Every item in that center was a cheap copy of the real thing, just like the relationships I’d built on stuff and the acceptance I’d sought in booze and drugs. They were cheap imitations of real love. And the little they offered only brought more pain and even led me to prison.
So let me tell you this: Drugs and alcohol cannot love. A successful business can’t love you, either. Nor can people who “love” you solely for what you give them. Those things and those people will only leave you empty.
The Bible tells us that true and eternal love is found in Christ alone. His love is unconditional. You can’t earn or lose it. God’s love is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3; John 3:16), and it’s all yours, just for the asking.
That’s good news because even the love of the best parent, spouse, child, or friend will inevitably disappoint you. But God never will (Romans 10:11). He can’t because God is love (1 John 4:8).
Even more than that, when we accept His love, He makes us His children forever. “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NLT).
Sadly, it took me 42 years to accept my heavenly Father’s true, unconditional love. And to think, I spent a fortune trying to earn something from others that God was ready to give to me freely.
How about you? Are you striving to prove your worth through success? Are you trying to earn the love of others through stuff? Are you surrounding yourself with people who don’t care about you, just so you won’t be alone? That’s an exhausting, empty, dead-end road.
You don’t need to look any longer. True love can be yours today. Pray with me: Lord, I want Your love. I’m tired of looking for love in all the wrong places. Those things and people have only let me down. Today, I receive Your gift of love by accepting Your Son, Jesus, into my life. Thank You for welcoming me into Your family forever. Amen.
DANNY R. COX was called by God to be an evangelist while serving time in prison. He is now a credentialed evangelist and correctional chaplain. Danny shares his story in churches and prisons worldwide. His book, High on a Lie, may be purchased on Amazon in English and Spanish. He is the founder of Prison2Preacher Ministries.