All good little Christians will now stand with me and recite one of the most quoted verses of the Bible.
John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him, will not perish but have eternal life.
Super spiritual Christians might roll their eyes, or continue on with the following verses until they make a point that they have more knowledge, and deeper understanding of what that verse means. I don't knock them totally, because there is a time and place for sound doctrine. To those that have little understanding of a relationship with the Father, though, one of the most powerful things they can hear is that there is a Father in Heaven that loves them, and desires for them to be born again through the gift of salvation brought on by his son's death on the cross.
You see, earlier in the text Nicodemus was questioning Jesus' command to be born again. How can a man enter his mother's womb once and again and be birthed? He wanted to know, and Jesus said it had to be understood spiritually, and for a hurting world that has been hurt or scarred by earthly parents, the Father's love for the world has to be understood spiritually as well.
I love my children. I love each and every one of them, and I prayed before I had my second child for him to help me love each one of my children without favoritism. He has truly given that gift to me. I make determined decisions when they are arguing not to be swayed either way by their actions towards me personally when deciding between their arguments. I don't want to be biased, or favor one child based on their merits, or giftings. Some of them seek to please their parents over others, but I don't love them more.
It is painful for me to hear the foolishness in their arguments in the other room. I wait begrudgingly for them to come to me, and generally one (or both) is in tears, and close to screaming as they begin to tattle. I look at them patiently, and when they hear something else other than their outburst they might hear their mommy saying, " Hey, hey,....hey...." or I will be lovingly shushing them to indicate they are screaming, and they will calm down and straighten their face and look intently waiting for an extremely wise determination of justice for them. They look into my face and see the love (I generally will have a slight smile) and you can tell they are confident I am about to fix their universe. Then, I speak....
"I love you."
This sometimes infuriates them, and they go into their tirade about what a sibling did to them. Or they pout knowing they have hit a brick wall they aren't old enough to tear down. I will call the other sibling in, and ask the two snotty nosed brats to face each other, and they will slowly turn with arms crossed and lips pierced staring at the person that their mom loves. I tell them to look at each other until I have determined they are no longer holding hatred towards their brother. I prompt them to either say I love you, or cite things that make their sibling unique and awesome. The first few words are generally mumbles that sound strained and forced, and that is when I pop off with a humorous comment pointing out how cute they are, or that is a face only a mother could love. If their "I love you," sounds forced, I will make them say it until they believe it.
What started out as WW3, gets simmered down so much so, that they forget what they were mad about, or they say it wasn't important. If I can tell they are still pretty upset, I say, "I love you." And they will reciprocate, and then I ask them if they understand I love the other person too, and they will sheepishly agree, and I ask them what in their own actions was loving or unloving towards the other person. These conversations about love and it's motives can take a long time, but can reap a huge understanding and growth in knowledge for them. Once they come in agreement with the terms of love they understand why both children are important in any argument.
My husband called me earlier today, and he was frustrated with some of the day's events. He was unloading on me and venting. I knew he wasn't mad at me, and needed a listening ear. He didn't need me to escalate his anger by getting angry with him, or offer twenty million woman solutions to his problem. After he finished, I said, "I love you." I had no fixes for him, but was confident I loved him, and that was all I could offer.
I have someone very close to me, and they have been given grim news in regards to their health, and how long they have to live. I have nothing but love. All I can say is, "I love you." My thoughts for them are filled with love and hope. My hope is based on my love for them, and I love them the best way I know how through prayer. This process has brought up so many memories of their contributions to my life, that I could write a book on how deeply they impacted me. I think of them often, and remind God how important they are to me, and he whispers these words of comfort back.........
Psalm 139:17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered."
My love for anyone on this earth cannot compare to His love for his children. He thinks of them deeply and lovingly. His precious thoughts towards us, are so vast, we could not count them.
Romans 8:31,-33,35,37-39 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us , won't he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one-for God himself has given us right standing with himself........Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?
NO! Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. Now power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, NOTHING in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We can get overwhelmed with our circumstances, or tribulations, and be vexed to tears. This entire time, God is sending a melody of love for our spirit to come into harmony with. The Father loves, and that was his motive behind him giving up his son as payment for our sin. Some of us might be broken over our sin, and the hurt we have caused others, and through that process, of repentance, God is singing "I love you."
People might say that "I love you." is cheap, but it is the motivation of the Father's love for those that would believe in him.
Philippians 2:1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other loving one another and working together with one mind and purpose.
Are you going through something traumatic, and overwhelming? God loves you. Are you facing something you have never faced before? God loves you. Do you feel alone and afraid?
The Father loves you!