“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” ( 1 John 3:1 NIV)
I had an interesting experience this week as I pondered the subject of this post. Since I began writing this blog in February, I have been accumulating ideas for future posts in a journal I keep for that specific purpose. Reviewing that journal Tuesday night and reaching no clear decision concerning this week’s topic, I prayed for divine guidance as I prepared for bed. Immediately upon waking Wednesday morning, I received my answer as I was overwhelmed with the thoughts of God’s love.
Interestingly, that was not one of the topics I had recorded in my journal. But I have found it always advisable that when God’s plans differ from my own, always yield to God’s plans. It is absolutely fitting to devote this 10th post to that subject, since the seeds of this blog were planted when my heart was flooded with an overpowering sense of God’s love one night last June while observing this beautiful sunset and reading John’s first epistle.
But just how does one adequately convey the reality of the depths of God’s love. That is a challenge for even the most skilled of writers, much less for one as inexperienced as myself. Words are simply inadequate. Like trying to describe heaven from the perspective of earthly experiences, I believe that no expression of flawed human love even comes close to matching the perfect love of our heavenly Father.
But thankfully, as the Holy Spirit reminded me Wednesday morning, I really don’t have to describe God’s love – He has already done so flawlessly in His Word. And there is little I can add to improve on that. Attempting to do so would only prove futile. And so, I will simply let the Lord speak for Himself and ask you to take the time to truly digest what God has to say about this most important topic. All the following verses are taken from the King James Version, because I believe no modern translation matches its eloquence on this topic.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) The cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11)
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he might exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Pet. 5:6-7)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:4-7)
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39)
How can I improve upon those clear expressions of God’s love? I could go on and on, because God’s Word is one long love letter to us, his children. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to locate those verses in your Bible and highlight them. When you come to them in the future, take time to pause and reflect on God’s love, its impact on your life, and its implications for your future.
In my post titled Glimpses Of Heaven, I spoke of my departed mother speaking to me in a dream one night, saying “Wait till you see Jesus! You won’t believe His eyes.” I’ve often wondered what it was about Jesus’ eyes that prompted that statement. The more that I have considered that question, the less I’m convinced that it had anything to do with His physical appearance and everything to do with the inexpressible love His eyes convey. I believe the greatest thrill of heaven will be when we gaze into the eyes of the One who loved us so much that He poured out His life that we might live eternally with Him.
My prayer is that you may know and experience that love today and that it may overflow from within you and touch the lives of those around you.
“When our broken love is the only love we can have, we are easily thrown into despair. But when we can live our broken love as a partial reflection of God’s perfect, unconditional love, we can forgive one another our limitations and enjoy together the love we have to offer.”
– Henri Nouwen, Bread For The Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith