As I was flipping channels this morning I overheard a radio devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries that really bothered me.
The gist of the devotional was this: A little girl asked her parents for a pet, so they finally gave in and bought her a hamster whom she loved immediately, which then taught the whole family about how quickly we can love something we didn’t know before. This was then compared to God’s love for us, saying basically: this is how God’s love is with us, we God waits for us to find “him,” then “he” shows us extravagant love like we could never imagine.
First and foremost, friends – God does not WAIT for us to find God before showering us with extravagant love!
Secondly, God’s love for us can never be compared to that of a little girl and her new pet hamster!
We have a God that loves us beyond anything we can ever possibly even begin to fathom. We have a God that knows every hair on our heads, every thought in our minds, everything about us and yet loves us still so much more extravagantly than any love we can experience on earth.
This God did the unthinkable for us – giving up a child on our behalf so that we might experience grace abundantly – BEFORE we were ever even able to comprehend the idea of God, much less chasing after this same God.
God does not wait for us in order to lavish love, and the idea that we have to do something to earn this love is wrong. God gives freely. God does not require us to come to ask for this love – it’s there, should we choose to recognize it or not. Nothing we can do will ever separate us from this love. It is not, nor will it ever be up to us to acquire love…it’s there. Freely given. For us to accept. And our acceptance or lack of it has no bearings on the existence of God, God’s love, or the salvation that we receive through Jesus Christ. It’s not about us. It never has been and it never will be. It’s about our God.
From Romans 8:
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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.
We are children of a God who cares so deeply about us that this God created us just out of pure love and joy. We were not created because God needed something from us. We were created because God craves us, God wants us around, God loves us powerfully. God did not decide to make us and then choose to withhold love from us until we could reciprocate love back to God. NO! God created us out of the joy of hearing us laugh, seeing us love one another, comforting us when we weep, holding us when we need consolation, watching us serve our brothers and sisters, experiencing us worship & exalt & be in awe.
God created us to accept and respond – not chase, then receive.
It hurts me to think that so many people hear a message of the Gospel that requires something of us in order for us to have what is so freely and readily available to us. The message we should be hearing is one that tells us “take! free! you’re wanted! you’re loved! you are important! welcome!” The message should be “thank you for loving me back!” not, “thank you for loving me, now I will love you.” A message of conditional love is one that is created by humans who can only understand a conditional love.
The love we receive from God is anything but conditional.
I leave you with our assurance of pardon from worship on Sunday morning. May these words be a comfort to you as you rest in knowing that God loves you. GOD LOVES YOU! And the think you need to do is respond to that love and participate in that love WITH GOD. Share it. Accept it graciously. Worship the one who gives it. And offer it to those who may be told otherwise.
(From the Heidelberg Catechism)
Question 60: How are you right with God?
Answer: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still ever inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
…all I need to do is accept this gift of God with a believing heart.