“He loved us long before we loved him.”
~1 John 4:10
I’ve spent a lifetime drawing near. . . and, in the drawing closer, respect for our King, our Creator has grown into friendship, into love, into honor, into awe at how very much He loves me, how very much He loves you, how very much He loves the easy and hard to love.
He loved the ones who turned away from Him, the ones who spit on His son, who crucified Him. He loved the deceiving, run-away Jacob, the lying Abraham, David and Moses, both murderers, Samson the Playboy, Rahab the Harlot, Sarah who laughed at Him. He had compassion for Hagar who treated another mother’s child badly. He forgave them and made a way for each of them. He loved Peter who denied Him, Paul who persecuted those who followed His son – and the outcasts that society wouldn’t invite to sit at their tables. – yet, He loved the people who wouldn’t invite the outcasts, too.
God’s love doesn’t sigh with impatience, tolerate with condescension, suffer like a martyr because His children don’t behave like He thinks they should. Instead, He pursues, chases them down, uses all His resources, all His heart, all His love to save them, to bring them Home. His love never fails! Yet my love fails so very often, fails Him, fails my family, my friends, even my community.
Fifty-five years after meeting God, about fifty-two years after following after Him, about 36 years after asking God to help me feel that same love I felt as a seven-year-old talking to Him in my backyard, I feel keenly how little I know of God’s love today. How small the love in my heart feels. Despite my efforts to reflect it, live it, walk it out, to love it back to Him falls so very short of The Big Love that is Him. I cannot wrap my brain around it. A lifetime of growing my heart has made me realize the smallness of it, still.
My love is a raindrop -size compared to the powerful ocean-size of our Father’s love.
So today, this Remembering God Monday Morning, I come asking God that my heart will grow in His love – for Him and for all His children, my brothers and sisters. Peter calls is it an astonishing love. A deeply intimate and far-reaching love. Enduring! Inclusive! An endless love. An extravagant love. I want to love Him like that. I want to love you and those who walk in my community like that. I want to love the easy and hard-to-love like that.
I want my love to grow to feel, to understand the depth and breadth beyond a raindrop’s worth of love to a teaspoon’s worth, to a puddle’s worth, to a bucket’s worth, to a wagon’s worth, a baby pool’s worth to an Olympic-sized pool’s worth, to a 99-mile creek’s worth, to a river’s worth, to a lake’s worth of love. I want to understand the depth and breadth of an ocean’s worth of love, of God’s full love. . . .
I want my love for my Father, for my Savior, for the Holy Spirit to be authentic, deep, alive. Not just words. Not just lip-service.
I’m praying Ephesians 3: 14-19 today. Won’t you pray with me:
“So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth. And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.
Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!” ~ Ephesians 3: 14-19