The words of the scholarship director hit me hard: “I’m sorry, but because of your low grade point average, we have no choice but to withhold your scholarship.”

I was crushed by the news, but I knew that I had no one to blame but myself.

With a nod, I replied, “I understand.” It was the truth. I did understand. After all, the only reason I failed two subjects on my very first term as a college student was because I didn’t put in as much effort as I should have. I had been negligent, and because of my negligence, I had lost the scholarship grant that was supposed to sustain me financially throughout my studies.

It was one of the saddest and most depressing days of my life.

I dreaded breaking the news to my parents, so I chose to cut by the park instead of heading home. It had just rained, and my senses took in the smell of damp earth, the greyness of the gloomy sky, and the silence of being alone. It was the perfect depressing atmosphere for an already depressed person.

As I sat on the park bench, I entertained thoughts about how I was such a big disappointment to my parents. I called myself an idiot for flunking my subjects and for losing the scholarship. I felt like a failure.

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the beeping of my cell phone. I checked my inbox and saw a text message from my dad. It was four words long: I love you, son.

I couldn’t stop the stream of tears that gushed out of my eyes as I read those four precious words. Despite the fact that I had failed in two subjects and lost the scholarship, my dad chose to look past my faults so that he could make it clear to me that I was still his son and that he loved me. It has been almost ten years since that day, and my father’s text message remains one of the greatest expressions of love that anyone has given me.

My father’s text message was a reminder to me of an even greater example of love: Jesus Christ. Being God, Jesus is fully aware of every failure we’ve ever made, every lie we’ve ever spoken, every curse we’ve ever said, and every filthy act we’ve ever done. He knows that we are rebels, cheats, liars, thieves, drunkards, and abusers. He knows we deserve hell. And yet, He chooses to look past all these things just to make clear His message of love: no matter what you’ve done and said, nothing will ever change the fact that I love you.

Jesus loves you despite your faults, my dear friend, and He wants you to know that. If you are seeking this kind of love that only He can bring in your own life, you can pray this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I need the love that only You can bring to my life. Please come into my life and let me experience the joy that comes from having a personal relationship with you. Amen.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Love issue of One Voice Magazine in 2013.

Juco Antonio Rivera

Juco Antonio Rivera ("Nino" to his family) is a college instructor, textbook author, and performing arts director. His interests include binge watching random food-related videos on Youtube, hanging out in cafes with friends, and watching theatre productions.