“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”1 John 4:9-11
When considering my upbringing, I have been blessed to be raised by parents who were not ashamed to express through words and action their great love for me. Throughout my childhood, there was never a doubt that I was loved and that my parents cared deeply for me.
At random, my dad would often ask me the question, “You know what?” Most often, I would have no idea what he was talking about and would respond, “Do I know what?” He’d repeat the question, “You know what?” I would respond with an annoyed “No.” The answer to his question was always: “I love you.” This continued throughout my childhood, and even to this day, continues at random.
“You know what?” my father says. I immediately know the answer, “You love me, Dad.” “That’s right, son. I love you.” Today, as a husband and father to our seven-month-old daughter, I hope to carry on this great reminder to my family that no matter what, they are loved.
As much as I love my family, the love of God the Father, Creator of the universe, is vast, beyond all compare. In fact, God doesn’t just love; it’s who He is. God is love. I’m reminded of the lyrics to the compelling hymn “The Love of God”:
Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade.
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
When we recognize who God is—that He is love—it changes everything for you and for me. There’s nothing that we can do to earn more love or to stop Him from loving us because loving us is not just something He does. It’s who God is.
Want to know what love is? This is love: “Not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and He sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). What does atoning sacrifice mean? It means Jesus paid it all. The debt we owed for our sin has been paid in full through the blood of Jesus shed for us on a cruel cross. Love came down, died a brutal death, and rose to life for you and me. That’s the heart of God for you. That’s love.