Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Doe God Love Me as Much as I Love My Children?

Today, I took my three daughters to our neighbor's pool, and my youngest one, Skylar, swam to me in her little, pink, life vest.  She swam right into my arms.  I stood there with open arms waiting to receive her into mine, and after her sputtering kicks and squinted eyes brought her little body into my chest, I wrapped my arms around her in deep love and affection, and planted a big, wet, kiss on her scrunched up cheek.  Right at that very moment, it made me think of the day when I will meet my Heavenly Father face to face, and fall into His arms, and how wonderful it will be to have His deep love gaze upon me in delight.  Immediately, I started to weep at the thought of God Himself delighting in me, and how I long for that day when He will wrap His arms around me, and not me only, but around my daughters, my wife, and all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

A question came to me, "Does God love me as much as I love my daughters?"  I delight in my daughters, and love them so deeply.  Nothing pleases me more than to hold them in my arms, hug and kiss them, and tell them I love them.  They always return in kind.  God is love, the Bible says (1 John 4:8).  God delights in His people (Psalm 149:4).  We have a heavenly Father who loves us, who cares for us, and who value us, Jesus says (Matthew 6:26).  Why is this so hard to accept?  For many of us, this is an impenetrable wall: Jesus love me, most assuredly--but the Father?  "The Father Himself loves you," Jesus says, (John 16:27).  We can try to reconcile the warnings Jesus gives in Matthew about the Father's withholding forgiveness to those who refuse to forgive (Matthew 6:15) with this message of love, but suffice it to say, that this love of the Father comes to those who've entrusted themselves the Father's Son, and those who do this receive the Holy Spirit, sent by the Son, and they do indeed live lives of forgiveness, out of sheer thankfulness and a new heart.  The doctrine of perseverance needs remembrance here, but let's get back to the brass tacks: Does God love me as much as I love my daughters, or as much as you love your own children or loved ones?  Why am I even asking this question?  Isn't it obvious?

Of course He loves us that much--and more.  God is love, and the depths of His love are deeper than the sea.  (I'm avoiding philosophical language here.  "Infinite," though highly suggestive, is a negative term and an abstraction).  "Deeper than the sea" or "higher the the highest heavens" helps because of the picture it draws.  Paul the Apostle does draw from the tools of philosophy though, when he writes, "may [you] be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God," (Ephesians 3:18-19).  He says something similar in Philippians 1:8: "For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus."  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, love and delight in us, and long for us with deep affection.  The fact that we have affection for our family and friends shows us that this love comes from God.

There is a crisis of the human heart, and for many (including me), it is most difficult to truly believe from the depths of our being, that God delights in us.  Can you say that?  "God delights in me."  Can I?  I must say it.  I must say it, and I must believe it.  And yet, I find it very difficult to say, to believe, and fully grasp in the depths of my soul.  How about you?  Do you have this trouble as well?  How well do you take the notion that your Heavenly Father delights in you?  When your child swims into your welcoming arms, do you also think of God's love for you, only magnified like the sun is to a flicker of light?  Are you able to rest in His arms today?

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