I remember holding each of them for the first time. Tiny bundles wrapped in soft blankets. They slept unaware that their auntie was in awe of God’s creativity. Tiny fingers and toes, downy heads, brows furrowed then relaxed in sleep and it was love at first sight. I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t have to train my heart and mind to feel that way. It was love unabashed and pure.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22 (NIV)
Love us, God, with all you’ve got – that’s what we’re depending on. Psalm 33:22 (MSG)
I have always known that God loves me. I’ve sung the songs and taught the lessons to others too. But I haven’t always believed it to be personally true, truth for me. I had intellectual knowledge, but heart felt belief that it was true – no, that place was filled with heaps of doubt.
I have carried a measuring stick around my whole life and I was the one to set the benchmarks. I never achieved, according to my scale. I always felt like I let myself down. I didn’t measure up, I couldn’t measure up. I would work hard and I would be kind of satisfied with what I accomplished, but it was never enough. And if I was dissatisfied with how I was doing on the scale of my life, then I deemed myself to be unlovable. I was told I was loved by the people in my life and I believed them, but they had to say those words – they couldn’t get rid of me.
But when it came to God, if I couldn’t even meet my own benchmarks, then how on earth was I going to meet His? I chose to see my Heavenly Father and one who loved me conditionally. If I believed that I measured up, then I would get some sort of cosmic pat-on-the-back showing his approval. Notice, it was approval not love. I had decided that I wasn’t worthy of His love and so why would I get to experience that. I chose to believe a lie!
God’s Word is full of evidence of His love. Not just His love for the world, there’s that too. Not just His love for the people who are recorded in the pages of His Word, although there’s heaps of evidence of that as well. But His personal love for me. He is not a God of conditional love. He does not carry around a measuring stick and decide to love based on what I do or don’t do. If His love was conditional, I would never even make it onto the scale of acceptable. He would have absolutely every reason not to love me. My God is the God unconditional love. Love that goes far beyond the boundaries of my understanding.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12, 13 (NIV)
He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21b (NIV)
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)
I am loved with the unfailing love of my God. He is the only one worthy of my hope. In His love I can depend.