I love my kids. I truly love my children. Every one of them.
When they were young, I remember walking into a room where they were playing. I would stop and stand there watching them, so overcome with love for them that I had trouble breathing. They meant so much to me I would be overwhelmed with it all.
There were many aspects to my love for my children. I’ve thought of three to examine and to see what that means to us when compared to our relationship with God.
I did my best to provide for my children. They had good food, beds to sleep in, clothes to wear. They also had me in their corner to encourage them, to guide them, and to listen when they needed to talk. I tried to give my best to them all the time, no matter how they reacted to me or how upset I might get with them.
Does God provide the same—or more—for us? Of course. Think of the home He provided from the beginning. In Genesis chapter one, we read how He prepared the garden for His creation, mainly to give us the sustenance and home we needed. (I love thinking of this as a parent prepping a nursery.) He walked in the garden with Adam and talked with him. He has always been there to guide us and to encourage us as we walk through life. No matter how badly we behave, God is there, His love shining through. (Genesis 1:29-31)
My kids were not perfect. I may have wanted to them be, but they weren’t. Because of my great love for them, I couldn’t allow them to be disobedient with no repercussions. Although the physical punishment hurt them more than it did me, I always ached from having to enforce the rules that were there for their safety. And I made sure they understood afterward that I was correcting their misbehavior, not saying they were not worthwhile. Love doesn’t allow disobedience to continue.
From the very first, God set down rules for our benefit. When Adam and Eve disobeyed those rules, they paid the price by having to leave the garden He prepared for them and by beginning the process of dying. The consequences for sin resonated throughout history and is with us today. When we are disobedient, God allows for our punishment, not because He is cruel or uncaring. He corrects us for our good and because He loves us more than we can ever understand. (Hebrews 12:3-11)
All of my children faced obstacles at one time or another. Friends who hurt them. Disappointments in life. Uncertainties in their faith. And on the list goes. As a mother who loved them above almost anything else, I tried to be there for them. Not to fix what went wrong, but to let them know I loved them no matter what they faced. I wanted them to know my love for them was unchanging, something they could count on no matter what.
Throughout the Old Testament, we can see how God’s love for His people is constant. When they turned away from Him over and over, preferring the gods of the people around them, He was always there waiting for them to return. God is still there for us today. When we face trials, when friends betray us, when life hurts, He is there. His love is constant and unchanging. (James 1:17)
I often think of those times I would stand and watch my children, overcome with love for them. And I wonder—does God do that with us? When He looks at us is He filled with overwhelming love? Does His breath catch, and is He thankful that we are His?
With all the love God has demonstrated toward us, perhaps His love for us is beyond overwhelming. Beyond anything we can imagine. We have an awesome God.
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10 NKJV)