“Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)
This morning I was looking at my bookshelf and I opened a book I had read long time ago called “Abba Child,” and a paragraph caught my attention. The author wrote:
How would you respond if I asked you this question: “Do you honestly believe God likes you, not just loves you because theologically God has to love you?” If you would answer with gut-level honesty, “Oh, yes, my Abba is very fond of me,” you would experience a sincere compassion for yourself that approximates the meaning of tenderness.
I remember that a few years ago, I was so tired of all those songs that talk about the love of God that I avoided picking them when I lead worship. So many songs talk about the love of God, but the more I sing them, the more I feel bored and unmoved. They were talking about God’s love, but it didn’t connect with me.
In the church, we often make the mistake of responding to emotional questions with rational answers that don’t connect. Someone going through tragic circumstances in her life might come and ask you, “Does God really love me?” Most people’s answer would be something like “God’s love is without limit.” It’s a “correct” answer, but not the “connect” answer. Try using that answer to a child prostitute in Thailand who wants to be loved, a homeless man who feels hopeless, or a disabled person who has given up on life.
But what if God didn’t have to love me, yet He still does? Can I imagine Him being amused at the thought of me, saying with a smile, “I’m glad I created Tim!”
I understood some of this after becoming a father. Many fathers say that, when they see their son or daughter being born in the delivery room, their first thought was usually a sense of responsibility. Now that Chase is almost 9 months old, I’ve learned that if I had continued to stay at the responsibility mindset, then my love would still be immature. Especially these two weeks, during Chase’s cold, we would not have had the strength to take care of Chase if we love him because we have to. At the church, people gladly carry babies who are smiling babies or are serene babies, but once the baby starts crying, they try to get rid of the baby as quickly as possible, because their love for the baby was only at a “loving the lovable” level. But dealing with a constant fuzzy, crying baby especially when he’s sick really tests the maturity of my love toward my son.
Could it be that when we pray to God and ask him to “help us this” and to “help us that,” to give us strength in something, we’re really actually asking to be able be more connected with His love for us?