Paper Bags and the White Hot Substance of God’s Love
Our youngest son has a tendency to focus on the negative things in life—his little brain is just wired up that way. One of my jobs as his mama is to help him focus on whatever is good and true (Phil. 4:8). As we were talking and getting ready for the school day one morning last week, I could sense anxiety rising up in his little eight-year-old chest.
I tried to think of ways to help relieve his worry.
“What if your little sister and I come to have lunch with you today? Would that help?” I asked him. He nodded. “Because you are very loved, you know.”
I started reminding him of ways our family shows our love for him.
“Remember when your papi (daddy) took you to breakfast last week before school?” He nodded. “He did that because he loves you. And remember when Grandmama took you to get ice cream? And Abuelita and Tio Milo took you to the toy store and to the park?” He listened and nodded, his brows still furrowed.
I wasn’t sure if what I said was sinking in, so l continued with my lecture—the ability to lecture on any subject is a gift you automatically receive when you become a parent. I told our little guy, “I want you to start looking around you for all the proof that you’re loved, okay? Why don’t we make a list of all those things so you can look at them and remember them when you feel worried? You can remember that you’re loved, and you’re safe here in this family. Do you think that’s a good idea?” He agreed.
As those words were coming out of my own mouth, it occurred to me that God has done this very thing for us in the Bible. He has put in writing the evidence of His vast and all-sufficient love for us. He must have known how our little brains would tend to focus on the negative things and how quickly we would slip into worry and doubt.
I read the Bible to remember that I’m safe and loved and that God is going to take care of me.
I must not be the only one who doesn’t understand how much God loves me, because Paul prayed for his flock like this:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father . . . so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:14–19, emphasis mine).
This passage says we actually need God to strengthen us before we can even comprehend how much He loves us. We don’t have a clue! My pastor says it’s like we’re paper bags and the love of Christ is this white-hot, nuclear-strength substance that we can’t even contain unless the Spirit strengthens us to do it.
That’s how much God loves you. That’s how much He loves me. He loves us so much that He strengthens us with His Spirit so we can receive the love of Christ and become rooted in it and grow up into it. It’s under us and over us and all around us. If we are in Christ, we are never, ever outside of God’s love for us.
I read the Bible so I can remember it.
What are some of the ways God shows His love for you? How does reading the Bible help you remember?
Written by Jennifer Case Cortez