The story of Priscilla Nicoara is for me a very powerful account of the power of love in a person’s life. She tells the story of her encounter with the love of Jesus at the web-site, I Am Second. We sometimes think of love in abstract terms or in purely romantic terms, but Priscilla’s life demonstrates the human need for love, the search for love and the transforming power of love.
1. Someone who lacks love as a child will look for other ways to fill the void.
Priscilla grew up in Romania to a mother who never wanted children and regularly reminded her that she wasn’t wanted. Not only was she not loved, she was blamed for making her mother gain weight and told that she would never amount to anything. In fact, it was only the threat of a curse from her grandmother that kept her mother from aborting her. She never heard her mother say that she loved her. She never even heard her utter those words to her father. While her grandmother was caring, she was also cold and didn’t know how to express love. She felt that if you hug a child or tell them you love them, you lose their respect somehow. So in Priscilla’s case, she sought her acceptance through success and accomplishment. She was only one of two women in a highly competitive 130-person engineering class. Determined to succeed and prove her mother wrong, she finished in the top of her class. But the ambition and drive came from a desire to hide the loneliness she felt and compensate for the feeling of not being loved or wanted or cared for by anybody.
2. The love of Jesus really does fill the void that a cold world leaves us with.
Priscilla was remarkably successful as a young woman, but that success didn’t fill the void that she felt. She felt like everything in her life depended on her – her decisions, wisdom and power were all she had. But at the end of the day, the loneliness remained. She was surprised when one of her co-workers told her about Jesus and a love so great that it drove Him to die for her. She couldn’t imagine anyone loving her much less giving his life for her. When she went to his church, she was angry at the pastor because she was convinced that somebody must have told him about her life and tailored the message to speak directly to her. But she was intrigued and began to study the Bible. She was deeply moved by the Psalms and learned that it was God, not her mother, who had chosen the time of her birth and had spared her from being aborted. The knowledge that God alone had planned her life was a great encouragement. She said, “Before I knew Christ, love always had something attached to it. You were loved because. You were accepted because. All of the sudden, when I met Jesus, I understood that there is love period. Unconditional love. I didn’t need to do anything for him to love me more or less; he loved me as I was. Which was hard to understand, but was liberating— it was so peaceful to know that His love is forever. I didn’t have to be fearful that if I’d done something wrong that He’s not going to love me anymore.”
3. True love must be shared, despite the risks.
Priscilla’s life was transformed as she received the love of God through faith in Jesus Christ. She began to see her life in new ways and viewed people with new eyes. But she knew that she wouldn’t have received that love had it not been for a man willing to take risks to share it. In Romania at the time, it was dangerous to speak openly about the gospel. He could have lost his job or been sent to jail. Even the church he invited her to was an underground one that gathered under constant threat of punishment from state authorities. As she trusted in Jesus, however, she said, “He chose to adopt me into his family. So I went from the feeling of being garbage to the feeling of being a princess in God’s kingdom. It was just something so amazing I couldn’t even grasp it really. It brought me so much joy I just wanted to share it with everybody.”
People can approach Christianity as any other religion and miss the love of Jesus Christ that our soul craves. For me, the love of God in Jesus Christ begins at the cross where Jesus died for us, while we were still sinners. Having received that love by faith, we foster it as we relate to God personally and respond to the expressions of His love in Scripture and in His daily faithfulness. As we take it in, the joy is magnified as we let it spill out and share it with others, with the conviction that everyone has a void like Priscilla’s that can only be filled by the love of Christ. As Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”
In awe of Him,