2001-04-13 - God is Love
As Mike and I wrote our devotionals for this week, neither of us knew the other was writing a back-to-back one on God's love. We will assume the Spirit has a reason for reiterating this.
Close your eyes for a moment and think simply of the word "God." What comes immediately to mind? Someone looking over your shoulder, checking up -- waiting to pounce on you to punish you? (That was the "God" I learned about in several legalistic churches when I was younger.) Someone who is all-powerful but really doesn't care about your troubles? Your Very Best Friend in the world? A loving father? What does God's word say about His character?
1 John 4:8b (RSV) God is love.
What a simple statement, yet a profound one. It doesn't just say that God loves us, but that love defines His character, His very essence. What does this mean for you and me? It means that everything He does for us, is out of His love for us. It means that as great a blessing as a true friend's love can be, God loves us with a love so deep we cannot fathom it. God does give us a taste of that love in those rare friendships that provide unconditional love - those friendships like David's with Jonathan, who "was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul."
But God loves us with a love that has no beginning nor end - beyond the grasp of our finite minds. He loves us with a love so deep that He decreed that His own beloved Son would suffer torture for us. Close your eyes for another moment, and think of the person you love the most in the world. Imagine putting that person up on a cross, piercing those arms you love with nails, so that someone who did not deserve it, could be forgiven. Amazing love.
No matter what you have done, God loves you more deeply than you can ever imagine, just as He loved the arrogant murderer who became the Apostle Paul. No matter what you are going through, there is Someone who loves you and won't abandon you. Even if your friends or family replace you or want nothing to do with you, there is One who will never leave you - never.