Love. It has so many connotations, implications, associations and meanings. From, ‘..and the greatest commandment is this that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…’ to ‘Oh yes please I’d love a coffee!’. There is the love one feels for a sibling, for one’s spouse, for a special friend and then there is the love for a child. There are at least 50 different bible verses that talk about love in various ways. To love your God, your neighbour and even your enemy. And, most importantly we are told that God loves us.
Not only are there dozen of bible verses to back this up, there are even more quotes from people highlighting and underlining this fact. Yes, fact. It is a fact that God loves us, but it is hard to comprehend, accept and acknowledge at times. God is love, He didn’t need us, but he wanted us and he made us, and whatever we do, he will always love us because he is love. WOW this is SO powerful. Almost too powerful. We are to believe that God made us and He will love us, no-matter what we do? And to prove it He sent Jesus to take away all our sins and to suffer, be humiliated and die for US?! All we have to do is love him in return? There must be a catch! There’s always a catch…isn’t there?
I have twin boys. One is away during the week at boarding school, the other is autistic and attends a local special needs school as a day boy. I love them. I love them so much. It is out of love that my elder twin attends boarding school because that is what is best for him. Do I enjoy him being away? NO! But he ‘loves’ it. My younger twin struggles with life and communication and social graces that the rest of us take for granted. But I love him. I love him so much it hurts and I cry some days. When he struggles and can’t get the words out and all he can do is say ‘go away I want you to leave’ or ‘that’s it, I don’t love you, cry!’ I do cry. But once he calms himself, and gathers the right words, he will apologise and come and find me and ask for a hug. Then I love him even more for his struggles, and my need to protect him means I would give my life to know he will be safe for the rest of his life. I’m sure many parents will understand this and empathise.
My boy at boarding school is turning into a teenager, the ‘strops’ are just starting to emerge. At the moment we find them amusing, I don’t know how much longer for though! But still, after a day of sniping comments from him, he only has to say, ‘I love you Mama’ and it all melts away.
This is how God feels towards us. We all snipe, we all shout, we turn against him, either willingly or without realising it, but he still loves us. Loves us so much that he was willing to send the most precious thing he could to save us. To give us a new start. To prove how much he loves us! How often have I thought ‘How can I show God how much I do love Him?’ I just need to tell him. To thank Him for the day, it might not have been the best, but He was there, waiting for you to ask for the hug after the shouting. He is always with us, talk to Him.
One person I read about used to make God a cup of coffee at the same time every day when she had hers and she would talk to Him as if He were there. She said it was the best therapy ever! Next time you get that feeling of love so deep and strong that you might burst, remember that is how God feels about you. He is there, go and find Him, ask Him, thank Him and love him because He loves you more than you will ever know. Our doubts cannot destroy that nor our faith create it, it is there, it always has been and always will be. Just as the love for your children will never cease.
Romans 5:8 - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 1 John 4:7-8 - Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
And as I close, the words from the hymn “In the Bleak Midwinter” resonate through me…
’if I were a rich man I would play my part, but what can I give? I give my heart’
Lord, I thank for creating me and making me your child. Guide me in your ways, and teach me each day how to be a better person for you. Give me strength to deal with life’s woes and remind me that my strength is in you alone. Bless everyone who reads and hears these words and may they bring them another step closer to you and your Kingdom… Amen.