The Creator’s Love
Why you love your children and why God loves His
Published: 14 February 2013 (GMT+10)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4–10
As someone who grew up in a Christian family, I sometimes heard ministers say things like, “We can’t understand why God loves us as He does.” In fact this same question is repeated in many contemporary Christian songs such as the opening track by the Paul Colman Trio on their 2011 album ‘Return’ called “I don’t Know Why.” Similar words are often heard on Christian radio.
Maybe some of you remember this old song by Andre Crouch,
“I don’t know why Jesus loved me
I don’t know why He cared
I don’t know why He sacrificed His life
Oh, but I’m glad, so glad He did
He left His mighty throne in glory
To bring to us redemption’s story
Then He died but He rose again
Oh, but I’m glad, so glad He did.”
Now I have to agree that God’s love is exceptional but I had an experience that helped me appreciate the nature of God’s love.
I started writing this many years back while I was waiting impatiently outside Recovery at The Canberra Hospital. I wrote, “Inside the operating theatre lies my two and a half year old son Elisha. Holding him while the anaesthetist gave him a shot was the most heart wrenching experience I can recall.” Even now I can remember the look in his fear filled eyes as he sat in my lap in the operating room. In that moment when the anaesthetic hit, his eyes were looking into mine asking, “Daddy, why are you letting them do this to me?” Then suddenly he went limp and his eyes closed. Why is it that seeing my child in fear and pain produces such emotion?
Well I’m getting ahead of myself. I must explain how we came to be in this situation. My eldest son Dominic and I were at a conference representing CMI while my wife Laura had taken the other four children grocery shopping. She had our 6 month old baby strapped securely in the trolley and to keep our 2 ½ year old from getting run over, he was riding on the side of the trolley. As she turned to approach the travelator the trolley overbalanced trapping Elisha underneath. You can imagine the trauma for both of them! Laura needed help to right the fully laden trolley before Elisha could be freed. The initial result of this was two screaming children. Laura managed to get the children and shopping home before deciding further action.
Having my phone off as one does in meetings, I arrived home in the early evening completely unaware, but was greeted by considerable disquiet. My quick examination confirmed Laura’s fears that Elisha’s leg was broken and he needed to be taken to the hospital. The doctor’s verdict was that Elisha needed a general anaesthetic to allow some manipulation before a cast could be applied. By the time he finally got to theatre, it was the following afternoon.
So there I was, waiting and praying—praying a lot because I was overcome with concern for my little boy and hot with impatience to know it was over and that he was awake.
So why were my emotions so stirred? The answer lies in the nature of the connection between a parent and child. Consider your children;
- You gave them life
- They reflect you
- You have expended your life on their behalf through kindness, patience, training, gifts, the daily grind of work and anticipating their needs and wants.
What does it say in Psalm 145 verse 9? “God has compassion on all he has made.” NIV
And again, Psalm 104:31: “May the glory of the Lord last forever! The Lord rejoices in all he has made.”
When we consider the intense feelings of love and concern that can be aroused within us when our children face great difficulty or danger it becomes easier to see how God must feel. It’s always interesting to me to observe how children take ownership of a new possession. Take the crude example of a disposable balloon. A child who neither bought it nor inflated it will become distraught if it suddenly deflates because they have lost ‘their’ balloon. Even adults in a hired hall may say, “Excuse me but that was MY chair.” If we as humans form attachments so easily, how much more is our Heavenly creator attached to us whom He had made? We all recognise that the more effort we put into something, the more we are attached to it. King David said in Psalm 139:13, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Be assured, God is very attached to us, even as sinners.
James says in chapter 1 verses 17 and 18, “Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven’s lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows. In his goodness he chose to make us his own children by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his choice possession.” Despite having created all of the heavens (v 17), we, His saved children, are His choice possession.
What surprises me is the number of people who claim to be atheists largely as the result of experiencing a tragedy. “When I saw my Godly mother suffer and die I knew there couldn’t be a God of love”, one lady said to me recently. The correct conclusion is, “Now I know why God hates sin and calls death the last enemy”. These people forget how God feels when we reap the results of living in a sin cursed world. In 120 years time, how many of the present approximately 7 billion inhabitants of Earth will be alive? Suffering and sickness serve as reminders to help us prepare for the inevitable; to make peace with God in order to prepare to meet our maker. And what is God’s attitude? Jesus’ good friend Peter put it this way, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
So I think we have a good idea why God loves us as he does. He designed us, made us, cares for us and furthermore Peter knew that humility and repentance are the doorway to living in God’s love.
This was an excellent explanation, and I don't know why more people don't see it that way. We have seven children. Two of them are adopted. I breastfed them as well as the other five. We homeschooled all of them. I guarantee you we are just as attached to the adopted ones as the others. It was our delight to be able to help them as adults when they needed it.
God knows our destiny. When He takes someone Home, we shouldn't be judging Him, because He knows that that person will be better off with Him. We should remind atheists that for a person to go Home doesn't mean God didn't love them. Perhaps lack of knowledge of one's eternal destiny makes this act of God seem like a travesty, because they have no idea what awaits us. They are doomed by their unbelief; God will try not to take them before they have had a chance to repent.
I lost a dear young friend; she was killed by a train. Knowing how she struggled, I am hoping God caught her just when she was finally believing in Him and before she lost faith again. I got a slight hint that may have been the case, because she wrote me she had some wonderful news, just before that happened, but said she wanted to tell me in person. I can only trust God she is with Him.
Thank you for helping to bring to my memory, the times that I went through what should of caused me to become an atheist. Each time I cried to Him, I received his gift of relief. I praise God that I am where I am today because of the choice to say "Yes" to him. I have had so many things happen (starting from about birth) that have been impossible to bear but He keeps calling me. So incredible! If you are in tragedy, please give Him a try before you say "No".
"Our heart is much too limited to be able to grasp the scope of this great blessing (Ephesians 3:19).
For such is its magnitude that if anyone were able to comprehend it... if we had a full understanding of this love of God for men (John 3:16), a joy so great would come to us from this recognition that we would promptly die because of it." Luther
Luther's' hyperbole and Paul's writing in Ephesians show the wonderful paradox of God's love. To quote Paul,
"... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:17–21 (NKJV)
On the one hand the Church is to comprehend and know the love of Christ and on the other hand this love passes knowledge. Paul goes on to say it is the God who can do more than we expect who is able to do this, despite our limitations.
Peter also describers this situation,
"… ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: " 1 Peter 1:8 (KJV)
Andrew, you are onto something here. You stated the case very well. Your point is one I would like to elucidate in a future book, along with some other signs from God for our daily lives, such as how marriage and the different gender roles reflect God's relationship to us, and how sleep is a picture of death, even to the point of rising again.
You have made an excellent point here that needs to be heard and considered by more people. My only complaint is I wish you had explained what several words meant, since I am an American. Trolley must mean something different here than what it means there and I've never heard of a travelator!
Trolley = Grocery cart
Travelator = Moving walkway, often from one floor to another in commercial premises. Term derived from elevator.