“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” III John 1:2 NKJV
This verse seems an especially appropriate prayer for these “times of trial”, my new name for the pandemic. I pray for each of you and your families, for health and prosperity and for our souls continue to prosper in our God. But this week I want to focus on the word, beloved.
One of my favorite words in the Bible is “beloved”. Beloved means dearly loved or much loved. Beloved, this is us! We are the beloved of God. We are His beloved, not because of who we are or what we’ve done or because we deserve love. We are the beloved of God because of who He is. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are indeed His beloved. In these times of trial, being God’s beloved is comforting. Who doesn’t need to “be loved”?
Many years ago, I had a Sunday school teacher in an adult class who called all of us, beloved. It was a little disconcerting at first, but also somewhat pleasing and encouraging. It reminded us that we belonged to and were beloved by God. Of course, he may have just had a hard time remembering everyone’s name…but is was still nice!
I want to share a few other verses with you that confirm that we are beloved. Many of these are from the New King James Version, because more modern translations have discarded “beloved” in favor of just loved or a completely different word. “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” III John 1:2 NIV This verse is still a perfect prayer for our times of trial, but“Dear friend” just doesn’t speak to my heart like “beloved” does.
The verse that most of us know by heart, and demonstrates in action our beloved status. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus.)
In Deuteronomy, Moses is blessing the tribes of Israel before he dies. “About Benjamin he said: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12 NIV As His beloved we rest secure between His shoulders (embraced) and are shielded all day. A beautiful image of beloved.
One from Paul. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering.” Colossians 3:12 NKJV And a final one from John. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” I John 4:11 NKJV
This week, know and accept that you are the beloved of God. Know that there is nothing you can do to change the love that God has for you. But as Paul and John also remind us, as we are loved by God, we are to translate His love to others. So in these times of trial, share God’s love through word and deed and let others know that they, too, are the beloved of God.
Beloved, good health and blessings!