So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God – Ephesians 3:17-19
This morning as I lied in bed, lingering there after completing my prayers, I was struck with something interesting: my daughter’s knee into the small of my back. It amazes me how a 45 pound girl can deliver a shot in her sleep that could win her an Ultimate Fighting Championship title. This painful wake-up call got me thinking about how blessed I am. Blessed with a child who loves me enough to want to be with me, blessed to be able to provide her with that level of security, and yes – blessed to have ibuprofen on hand for just such an emergency. But all kidding aside, this morning’s encounter gave me an interesting revelation about the love of a child in relation to the love that God has for us.
The love that a young child holds for their parents is amazing. You can’t appreciate it unless you are a parent. The feeling of your infant curled up in your arms, warm, safe, and happy is a blessing and a joy.
The love of a child is great, but it becomes pure bliss once that love is shared by choice. Early in their lives, children are so physically, emotionally, and psychologically dependent upon their parents that they find it easy to show them love. It’s natural. However, in time those children develop and begin to formulate their own views and opinions – including decisions about who they love and why. To realize that your child has reached a point where they know who you are, what you stand for, your strengths and your weaknesses and after all of that they still throw their arms around you and say without doubt or hesitation, “I love you” – that is when you feel the full power of the love they have for you.
It is unfortunate, but far too many people view God and the love that He has for us in the same way that they view the love of a child. Why do people treat God as if He has no choice but to love us – like He’s required to and therefore has no say in the matter? This couldn’t be further from the truth. God is not bound by some universal code to love us – it is His choice.
In Jeremiah 31:3, God shows us the choice He made when He says, “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.’” There is nothing forced about these statements – this was a conscious decision He made on our behalf. And how much does God love us? Ephesians 5:2 eliminates any doubt as Paul explains the choice Jesus made on our behalf, beseeching us to, “live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Love is an amazing gift from God that He allows us to share with Him and those special people He brings into our lives. May we be ready, willing, and committed to make the choice to love with the fullness that was established for us in Genesis, confirmed for us at Golgotha, and willingly renewed every day by our great and wonderful God.
But now, I must be off to bed. I seem to get my best sleep earlier in the evening, before my “guest” arrives.