“Who loves you?” I used to ask my children as I held them close. Mama. Boppy. Jesus.
We were made to love and be loved.
In the image of God we were created, the God who is the very essence and definition of love. So we spend our lives reaching out of our brokenness to find our way back to that garden where love was the very atmosphere of life.
It seems so simple when we say our wedding vows or hold our babies close. Sweet feelings fill us and we vow that our love will be stronger than those who came before us. And then….
“I hate you!” she shouts, this sweet babe who adored me just a few years ago. I’m tired of this I think, when the burden of a relationship weighs heavily on my side of the scale.
We speak vows of love to each other. Only death will part us, we promise. But too often those vows break under the weight of our sin and self-favor. We chase the fleeting temptation of giddy feelings and forsake the hard security of faithfulness.
Where do we turn when we run into the harsh reality of life in a wounded world? How do we love when warm feelings are replaced with searing disappointment?
We turn to the One who has shown us, not just told us, what love is.
Mutual affection comes easily, but genuine love is proved in fire and pain. And isn’t true love what we long for? A love that holds on when we are at our most unlovable?
“Love is patient”, it says in the Bible’s iconic love passage. It’s also kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud. It protects, trusts and perseveres.
When we adopted our children there were no escape clauses in case they didn’t meet our expectations. No, we signed up for a journey with no u-turns available. Our children didn’t grow up wondering if we would change our minds down the road.
“Jesus loves me, this I know”, I sang to them, willing this fundamental truth to be a familiar, safe place for them in a cold and unpredictable world.
Marriage and parenting are costly, sacrificial pursuits. To love well we must lean on the strength of the love that created us, called us, gave everything for us, leaving not just a noble example but power to carry it out.
I was in a friend’s home this week and noticed that they had posted their marriage vows on the wall of their kitchen. How appropriate, I thought. For though vows are made publicly at the altar, they are lived out privately at home.
But there is a love that holds even when all others fail. “Even if my father and mother abandon me”, Psalm 27 says, “the Lord will hold me close.”
There is a great gathering coming, a home waiting with room enough for all who choose it. A meal – yes, a wedding feast! – with One who has kept His promise of love and faithfulness even though all of us, like sheep, have gone astray.
Who loves you? Maybe many, perhaps few. But always One. Always, ever, Jesus loves you, and nothing in all creation can make Him stop.