What could be greater than a mother’s love?
Indeed, the world would agree that the love of a mother for her child is astounding, if not unparalleled to any other in this world.
From the moment a woman knows she’s pregnant, everything about her thought process and decision making changes, to consider foremost the baby growing inside her, even for the least cluckiest of us. What she eats, what she doesn’t eat, where she goes, what she does, what she wears – there’s nothing that doesn’t get reprioritised instantaneously.
Certainly, one could point to examples of women who continue to drink, smoke, take drugs, or unwed teens who end up aborting their baby, but I would surmise that they are no different, as evidenced by the guilt all these women experience as a result of the actions their circumstances, destructive lifestyles and addictions caused them to take.
For many couples, the impending arrival of their baby is a time of preparation, a labour of love to ensure that their baby comes into the world having the best that they can provide. Even after their baby is born and grows up, the child is always on the mind of the parents. It doesn’t matter if the child grows up to be a successful mover and shaker in society, or a rebellious delinquent on the wrong path in life, whether the child is in their twenties or sixties, the parents’ thoughts towards the child will always be of love.
And yet Jesus said this to the people of His day, about God: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)
The only love greater than a parent and a mother’s love is God’s love for us as a heavenly Father.
How did God, the richest and most powerful being, prepare for the coming of man, His beloved and ultimate creation? He made the heavens and the earth, the cosmos and universe with all its galaxies and stars, for man to gaze up at and enjoy. He covered the earth with luscious and abundantly fruitful trees and herbs as food for man. He filled the seas with fish and sea creatures, the skies with birds, and the earth with beasts and every sort of living thing, for man to tend without toil and enjoy.
Only after everything was lovingly made and prepared, did God make man and woman, last. Man came, covered in the full glory of God, into a world that was already finished, for him to have dominion over and freely enjoy.
God didn’t make man so that man could serve Him, He already has hosts of angels serving Him who can do far more than man. No, God made this earth and then man, for man to enjoy the earth and so He could have a loving relationship with man. Man was never made to suffer and die – that only came with sin, when man fell for the lie of the devil and forfeited the glory of God.
None of us have children so that they can serve us. God designed the process of making a baby to be in an overflow of love – not through an act of disgust or fear or anger – so that we would always remember love in association with our child.
Why did God make man to love if He already had Jesus, His beloved Son, who was daily His delight?
God Is Love. Super-abounding, overwhelming, unfathomable love. And love delights in having more people to give to and share with. The church was also His design, His plan, a chosen bride for His beloved Son Jesus.
And His love went that far to send His Son to die and pay the judgement for us at the cross, to redeem us into sonship and eternal life with Him. Jesus’s love for His bride, us who make up the church, went that far that He would lay down His life to bring back ours.
And even though we rebel against Him, ignoring Him, rejecting Him, denying Him while we pursue other lusts, interests and distractions, His loving gaze never leaves us, like the father of the prodigal son*, whose eyes searched the horizon day and night, yearning for his son, until the day his son came home in search of food to fill his stomach. And regardless of the son’s motive for coming home, when the son was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on the son’s neck and kissed him (Luke 15:20).
The moment we take a step towards God, our heavenly Father, He runs full on towards us, to embrace us and kiss us, and bless us. Regardless of why we came in the first place, how we feel about ourselves, what we’ve done, He’ll put the robe of righteousness on us, that ring of authority on our finger, pronounce us as prince and heirs, throw a party in celebration, and love us back into wholeness.
Our heavenly Father’s starting premise in creating us is love. His premise in sending Jesus is also love, so that through our acceptance of Jesus and His sacrifice for us we can end up with Him in heaven, enjoying the richness of heaven for eternity. And every moment in between His thoughts and intents towards us is still love, as He journeys with us every day we spend on this earth, in love waiting for us to turn back to His loving arms.
Come home to love today. Your heavenly Father wants nothing more than to love you and bless you all the days of your life.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.
*The story of the prodigal son is recorded in Luke 15:11-31.