Ok, friends, I don't do this very often but get ready. I'm 'bout to preach.
Laila and I were driving in the car this morning and Christina Perri's song "A Thousand Years" came on. I was looking at her in the rear view mirror as I was singing and was completely overwhelmed by how much I love my daughter.
And then, like a ton of bricks, I felt the weight of God's love for you and for me, His precious children. If I, being base and evil, can love my child so much, how MUCH MORE does God, your Creator, love and adore you? Don't read this like a devotional. Please hear the heart of God towards you! No matter who you are, what you've done, what you even believe about God, He loves you desperately and has for more than a thousand years. No matter how you respond to Him, He'll still love you for a thousand more. He is waiting for you with bated breath. He is desperate to be close to you. And if anyone has told you otherwise about who God is, that person is a liar. God IS love. And His heart towards you is absolute and perfect LOVE. Hear Him sing: "I have died every day waiting for you. Darling, don't be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more."
I posted what you just read on facebook this morning because I felt absolutely compelled to do so. I cried as my little thumbs furiously typed it out. So many of us have heard it so many times "God loves you."
"God loves the world."
"For God so loved the world..."
I'm afraid that we have lost sight of the absolutely radical truth that is conveyed in those 3 words. God has no reason to love us, friends!
We mock Him.
We ignore Him.
We cry out to Him. He's faithful and then we, in our arrogance, pat our own backs because we somehow give ourselves credit for getting ourselves out of the mess we got into, forgetting all along that HE saved US.
We disobey when we know better. Over. And over. And over.
And, yet, His heart abounds in love toward us. He is desperate for our nearness.
He longs for our embrace.
All of this should be absolutely mind-blowing. All of this should cause us to fall on our faces in thankfulness. And yet so few do.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot (A LOT) about how love and obedience interact, friends, because I have been privy to a ton of disobedience lately. (Big sigh.) From Laila. Ugh. Remember when she was tiny and she had that little biting issue? I got on here and I blogged about it all cute and funny and we had a good laugh... Ya'll, I can't even joke about this right now because it just plain hurts. Her disobedience and her failure to change her behavior hurt me SO MUCH. Not because I need the ego boost of having a child who obeys. Not because our lives are just more fun when she obeys (although boy is that true). Not just because I want people to see "what a good job I've done raising such an obedient little girl" but because I see her disobedience as a symbol of her distrust. Because it feels like somewhat of a betrayal. Because I want her to obey BECAUSE SHE LOVES ME.
Okay, so, taking a step back, she's about to be 3 in May. I know in my head that she isn't actually disobeying because she doesn't love me. I know that she loves me. What other choice does she have? At this point, Trevor and I are all she knows of love. And we are affectionate, generous and kind parents (look how well I'm doing overcoming that pesky Mommy Guilt :)). She is disobeying because her little brain is processing adult level doses of estrogen, she's working out the full development of her frontal cortex and she's trying to figure out how the heck she's supposed to exist in this big crazy world. I get that. I really do.
But, boy, has it opened my eyes to what God, my Father, must feel when I disregard His loving commands, His invitations to intimacy, the safety and security of the boundaries that He's put in place for me.
And, as a parent, I'm starting to understand those boundaries on a whole new level. Laila got a spanking (Yes. YES. I spank my kid, ok? Walk a mile in my moccassins, buddy, and then, if you want to judge me, we'll talk) for running away from me at the park, dangerously close to the street, and not stopping when I yelled "STOP!" I punished her for disobeying because I desperately want to save her from getting HIT BY A (bleepity bleep) TRUCK. You know?!
It's just like how God commanded us not to fornicate. (Hey. Hi. How about I step on some toes?!) See, He created us and therefore knows intimately how our bodies, emotions and brain chemistry work. He knows that casual sex will lead to pain, loneliness, heartache, essentially feeling like we've been HIT BY A TRUCK.
He isn't out to squelch our fun.
He's out to keep our heats in tact.
He's out to give us abundant life.
He's out to overwhelm us with the good and beautiful and lovely things that HE CREATED FOR US TO ENJOY, unhindered by the bondage that comes from sin.
I could scream right now it feels so darn good to SAY ALL OF THIS.
I'm never controversial here. I'm never political or super spiritual. I'm usually real chill.
But, dangit, people, I've got a fire shut up in my bones about the love of God.
HE LOVES YOU.
HE loves YOU.
He loves you.
I pray that He shows you that love in a way that knocks your socks off today.
And unties your tongue.
And makes you free.