A Reflection on God’s Love
by Ally Kiefer, Communications Coordinator
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
~ 1 John 4:7-8.
There are many kinds of love – the overwhelming care of a parent, a sibling; the contentment and camaraderie between friends; the romantic partnership of couples. The greatest love, of course, is the love of God for us. In fact, as seen in the 1 John quote above, the Bible describes God as the source of all love, as love itself.
He is described as our awesome Creator, our gracious Father, our fierce Protector, our attentive Shepherd, our compassionate Counselor, our sacrificial Lamb, our Savior. Think of the intense passion and tender care it would take to breathe life into the universe, knowing the cost even before the first atom was crafted. God saw the suffering and pain and evil He would endure by creating us, the ultimate sacrifice He would pay, and still chose us. He saw the cross, and still considered us more than worth it. That is how great His love is. That is true love.
I once heard a couple describe how oftentimes, after they put their baby down in her crib, they stand over her and marvel, waves of love flooding through them for this precious sleeping child. I think that’s how God sees us. We don’t have to do anything for His love. We can be unproductive, lazy, slothful; we can be sick or hurting; we can feel broken; we can be caught up in sin, and still, He cradles us as we’re unaware, singing over us with a depth of love unimaginable to us in this lifetime. His arms are always open to us, and how He rejoices when we collapse into them, how much joy it brings Him when we surrender our white-knuckled control and rest, simply rest, in His presence.
To love the Lord our God with all our might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. These are the great commandments Jesus spoke for us to follow. We can open up and rest in the grace of the Lord at any time, in any place, and He promises He will meet us. In Jeremiah 29:13, God speaks this to the exiled and hopeless Jewish people: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” That same promise rings true today – even more so, with Jesus as our righteousness and the Holy Spirit within us as our guide. With love so freely gifted to us from God, how can we pour it out to others? How can we love others well, in the name of our Father?
This Valentine’s Day, I hope that we take time to reflect on who God has placed in our lives and to thank Him for the loved ones we cherish. We can pick up the phone and call a dear friend, just to say “I love you.” We can bear-hug a spouse or a child to express how much they mean to us. We can show up for someone who needs a helping hand, or a shoulder to lean on. We can listen. We can laugh. We can celebrate. We can pray for those around us and for our world.
And of course, we can meditate on and soak in the never-ending, all-powerful, ever-steady love our Heavenly Father has for us, with gratitude and praise.
“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.