"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
I don't recall what my son did wrong. I just remember his reaction to my husband Pat's discipline. It was unlike any time before.
"You're not my dad!" Mitch screamed with rage. "I hate you, I hate you!" he ranted between sobs.
I was shocked watching the two of them battle out their affections. Our son hadn't behaved that way before. He was completely out of control and overwhelmed with anger, fear, and pain.
Mitch was a baby when my first husband, his biological father, died in an accident. Now, standing before the man who had vowed to love him as his own, Mitch wasn't certain he trusted his stepfather's heart.
Pat fell to his knees and embraced Mitch. My little boy continued to fight him. Without letting go, Pat spoke calmly, "You can hate me if you want ..." Pat struggled to keep his arms around Mitch as he tried to pull loose. "But you're my son, and I won't let you go. I will always love you—no matter what."
With every word Pat whispered into Mitch's ear, and as my husband held our child tight, Mitch's fears began to melt away. Suddenly, his body relaxed, and he returned his father's embrace.
It was a defining moment for us all. In that instant, our cheeks wet with tears, we realized Mitch had let down his guard. He began to trust this man who had promised to be his father, to accept his father's love, and to offer love in return. Mitch didn't do it because Pat was his playmate or because his stepfather filled a certain role in Mitch's life. He did so because he knew Pat loved him, even though he had rejected that love at first.
Pat mirrored the character of our heavenly Father when he vowed to always love Mitch and never let him go. Pat was saying to our son, as God says to us, "No matter what, I'm here for you."
What a beautiful picture of 1 John 4:19, "We love because he first loved us."
Our heavenly Father is not some far away God. He is near to us, and we can approach Him, regardless of what needs we come with. Our Father wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. He wants to know and share in our joys and our pains because He loves us.
I find it interesting that the word "Father," referring to God, is often translated "Papa" or "Daddy" in Scripture. These expressions of endearment comfort me as I equate them to my earthly dad. But perhaps you've never had an earthly father to turn to in times of celebration or sorrow.
Maybe your dad was absent and uncaring instead of loving and available. If so, you've discovered that not all people love sincerely and you've been hurt. When this happens, it's easy to think God acts in the same way. But because He is trustworthy and never changes, we can be assured that His love is unconditional and always present.
The comfort of knowing Pat loved him gave Mitch the confidence to love his stepfather back. Today, let's renew our love for our heavenly Father as we rest in the knowledge that He loves us—no matter what.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love. Please give me the grace I need to stop fighting and to receive Your love. In Jesus' Name, amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Do you fight God's affections or do you accept His love daily?
Make this your prayer each day until you grasp the reality and wonder of knowing that God truly loves you!
I pray, Father, that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge; that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (based on Ephesians 3:16-19).
Psalm 36:7, "How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings." (NIV)
Psalm 136:26, "Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." (NIV)
© 2013 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105