143=numerical I (1) LOVE (4) YOU (3)
I remember the day I first fell in love with the Lord. The sun was shining, and I had set up camp on my old blanket I keep in the trunk of my car (cause you never know when the need to just sit on a blanket will arise). I had my One Year Bible and a copy of The Purpose Driven Life , I dubbed “The Green Book,” by Rick Warren.
I cannot remember if I was in The Word or in “The Green Book” when it happened, but I literally fell head over heels in love with God. It was the highest high I have ever felt, but I was completely sober. It was mid-day at a park mind you. And it was like the secrets of heaven were spoken to my heart. I cannot explain it in words. It was out-of-body, and I will never be the same.
In that moment, I felt so much love, I could hardly stand it! I wanted to shout from the rooftops. I knew I never wanted to be out from underneath God’s wonderful grace again. I couldn’t believe that the Creator of the universe loved me so much that He allowed His son to die for me. I couldn’t believe that Jesus loved me so much that He was faithful enough to go through with it. And I couldn’t believe that the Holy Spirit was pursuing me all that time. I couldn’t believe that God loved me in the same way I loved my child–even more! That was unreal to me! And I had done nothing but run away from Him and hurt Him. I felt bad for running all that time, not accepting what He had done for me, but there was so much love inside of me in that moment that shame took the backseat. God didn’t allow the devil to ruin this love story. It was like God Himself was hugging me (I could imagine His hugs feeling that good). It was like He was hugging me and saying “It’s okay. I know all of you. I know everything you have ever done or thought, good and bad, and I love you just the same. I am happy you are here with me, and I no longer have to chase you.”
Now trust me when I say, there is nothing special about me. I believe the only reason I experienced this was because I was seeking Him with my whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13). I wanted to know who He was, and He revealed that to me. We are all free to do that at any time. And He is more than willing to run to all that do.
Later, when I heard the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), I completely related with to the son. I was the same in that I wanted all the privilege of being God’s child, but I wanted to go my own way. When I realized I would never be complete without being with Him, I came back. When I did finally come back, He didn’t throw my shame in my face, He didn’t scold me, and He didn’t go around telling others what a disgrace I had been. He ran to me. ME! With open arms. He threw His arms around me and then threw me a huge party with all the angels in heaven! Sweet!
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” –Luke 15:7
I believe I felt a little bit of that in the park that day!
So what’s 143 got to do with it? Well, when I was a teen, we used pagers, yes pagers instead of cell phones (gasp), and 143 stood for “I love you.” Over the years I have always noticed these three numbers together, and I would think to myself “I love you”–to no one in particular. It was just engraved in my brain. Ever since I have returned to my Heavenly Father, I see those numbers and am reminded that He is looking down on me saying, “Michelle, I LOVE YOU.” I LOVE HIM too. 143