You know, to be quite honest, there are times that I just don’t understand the love of God. I cannot fathom how much He loves me. I know what His word says… I know that He loves me so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die in my place. This is what I know to be true… in my head. But for the life of me, I just cannot get it! And I try to! I want to! I pray to God to reveal to me the love He has for me. Because I want to more than know it… I want to feel it. I want to feel love from Him and for Him. And I want to feel it for those He tells me to love… my neighbors. And yet, after all these years… I still don’t get it.
I’m learning so much about God, and who He is to me. Most apparent is that He is my Creator, King, Master, and Savior… but here recently, I’ve learned that He is also Husband to me (Isaiah 54:5). And I’ve found that He is friend to me (Exodus 33:11). More often than not though, I think of Him as Father. Because I am a child of God. But quite surprisingly, what I’m finding out this week is that He can also be Mother to me. And I think it’s through this role that I will know just how much He loves me. I think it is through mothering my own child that I will finally grasp the depth of His love for me. Because I know how I feel about my own son. I love him with a love that’s unending.
It was yesterday that my son had to be disciplined. He got in trouble two times at school for talking when he should have been quiet. So after school, I didn’t allow him access to his games or TV as normal. I let him know that we’d have to discuss it with Daddy that evening. Well, with doom on the horizon, He became pretty quiet and was just not himself. I found him laying in his bed under the covers. And so, rather than make him get up and accept the consequences of his actions, I did what any mother would have done. I laid down beside him as close as I could and peered into his eyes. As we snuggled, I told him to tell me the truth about what happened. And my heart ached as he talked, because I knew we would have to punish him for what he had done. For a short while, we snuggled… and it was later when he received his spanking from Daddy’s firm hand. Afterward, he just looked so sad and defeated with his downcast face. I squatted down to his level and pulled him to me. I cupped his cheeks and made him face me as I said, “No matter what you do… no matter if you’re in trouble… I will always love you. You will never lose my love.” It was moments later that a light kind of came on. I thought, “This is how God feels about me.” No matter what I do, He will love me unconditionally. And so, I realize that this is how I can begin to understand how God loves me. God can reveal His love for me through the love of a mother.
You know, there’s a passage of Scripture I have read many times including within the past week. And yet, it wasn’t until I read it this morning that I saw something I somehow overlooked in every other reading of it! In the tenth chapter of Mark we read about a rich young ruler who asked how to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him what the commandments were, and the ruler answered that he observed them all from his youth. But alas, Jesus told him there was one thing missing. He said, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But, the young ruler was sad and went away grieved because he had great possessions. It was just too hard to walk away from all that he owned to follow Jesus. And you know, I think the disciples were disheartened by this because they asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” This may seem an unlikely passage of Scripture to reference here, but what I saw this morning caught my eye. Honestly, I don’t know how I missed it all these years. It’s in verse 21 that I find this nugget of truth: Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and told him to sell all he had.
Do you see? Jesus is all knowing and He knew beforehand what the young man would do. Jesus knew that rich young ruler would choose his riches rather than choose to do what Jesus said to do. And yet, Jesus loved him anyway. Just like I love my son. I know he will get into trouble again and again. And yet, I love him all the more. This is exactly how Jesus loves me. This is exactly how God loves me.
Later last night, my son was snuggled up on a cozy chair when he asked me for a drink. I’m trying to not do as much for him, as I feel he should take care of his own needs when he’s able to. But last night, there was something about the way he looked and the way he asked… or perhaps it was something about the way he had been disciplined earlier… or more simply… it was something about the love of a mother that caused me to sit beside him instead. I told him that although I would normally ask him to get his own water, I just wanted him to know how much I love him. And so, I gave him a kiss and was happy to get him his drink last night. And it’s this… this right here… this is just how much God loves me. As a mother loves her child. As a mother who wants to give her child a drink of water. As a mother who wants to offer comfort where she can. This is how much I love my son. And it’s amazing to think… God loves me just the same.
For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. Then you shall feed; on her sides shall you be carried, and be dandled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:12