What does it mean to love God? What does it mean that God loves us? Have you ever thought about that? I think about King David in the Old Testament of our Bible, who penned the phrase:
“What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” (Ps. 8:4, NASB)
Wow. What an incredible verse! The God of the universe takes mind of you and I, even though we are so small and finite. But what does that phrase really mean? What does it truly mean for God to take mind, or to love man?
I had a professor in college that used to talk about the variety of implications a word can have. He always used the example, “I love pizza, I love my cat, I love my wife.” Obviously when he says he loves pizza (though that relationship can be deep), he probably means something a little different than how he loves his cat. The same goes when you compare the love of his cat to the love for his wife. Though the same word is used, the meaning can be so different. I think this explains the disconnect we can sometimes feel when we think about the love of God. We tend to think about His love for us much like my professor when talking about his cat, or about pizza. It’s a love that strongly likes, not deeply desires. It’s a love that puts up with, and maybe even enjoys sometimes. But that is not the love of God. Hear this prayer of Jesus from the Gospel of John:
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (Jn. 17:22-23, NASB)
How incredible is that? Jesus not only prays for the unity of the believers, but he establishes our oneness with God the Father! More than that, Jesus says that God has loved us even as He loved his own son! God deeply desires us, He loves us. Not with a passive or slightly amused kind of love, but with the same intense love that He showed His very own son. The author Brennan Manning in his book The Furious Longing of God puts it this way, that God’s love for us is directly proportional to His love for Christ. Now that is love. That is desire.
Father, we need you and we love you. Help us understand how deeply You long to be with us, and how deeply you desire your children. That you would delight in us despite our failures and shortcomings, and always be willing to scoop us back into your intensely loving arms. Through Christ our Lord, amen.