Loved, No Matter What
"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
I don't recall what my son did. I just remember his reaction to my husband Pat's discipline. It was unlike any time before.
"You're not my dad!" Mitch screamed with rage. "I hate you, I hate you!" he added between sobs.
I was shocked as I watched the two of them battle out their affections. I had never seen our son behave that way before. He was completely out of control and overwhelmed with anger, fear and pain. He had lost one dad in death. Could he trust this one?
Pat fell to his knees and embraced our son. Mitch fought him. Without letting go, Pat spoke calmly, "You can hate me if you want, but I will always love you." Pat struggled to keep his arms around Mitch as he tried to pull loose. "You're my son. I will never leave you—no matter what."
With every word Pat whispered into Mitch's ear as he held him tightly, Mitch's fears began to melt away. Suddenly, his body relaxed and he returned his father's embrace.
It was a defining moment for us all. In that instant, our faces still wet with tears, we realized Mitch had let down his guard. He began to believe in his father, to accept his father's love, and to offer love in return. He didn't do it because Pat was his playmate or because he filled a certain role in Mitch's life. He did so because he had been loved even though he had rejected that love at first.
Pat mirrored the character of our heavenly Father when he vowed to always love Mitch and never let him go. Pat was saying to our son as God says to us, "No matter what, I'm here for you."
What a beautiful picture of our key verse. "We love because he first loved us."
Our heavenly Father is not some far away God. He is near to us and we can approach Him, regardless of our needs. Our Father wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. He wants to know and share in our joys and our pains. Mostly, God wants us to know He loves us and there's not a thing we can do to change that.
I find it interesting that the word "Father," referring to God, is often translated "Papa" or "Daddy" in Scripture. These expressions of endearment comfort me as I equate them to my earthly dad. But perhaps you've never had an earthly father to turn to in times of celebration or sorrow.
Maybe your dad was absent and uncaring instead of loving and available to you. If so, you've discovered that not all people love sincerely and you've been hurt. I'm so sorry and I'm praying today that you'll believe this truth: no matter what you've done, or what's been done to you, you have a heavenly Father and you can cry out "Daddy!" any time, any place, anywhere.
His love is unconditional. Will you allow God to wrap His loving arms around you and wash away all your fears as He whispers to your heart, "I'm here for you—no matter what" today?
Dear Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love. Please give me the grace I need to stop fighting and to receive Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Do you fight God's affections or do you accept His love daily?
Make this your prayer each day until you grasp the reality and wonder of knowing that God truly loves you!
I pray, Father, that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge; that I may be filled of measure of all the fullness of God. (based on Ephesians 3:16-19)
Psalm 36:7, "How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings." (NIV)
Psalm 136:26, "Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." (NIV)
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