The world says, “You get what you deserve” and “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Therefore when we encounter God’s love called “grace,” which is interpreted as: “unconditional love,” we immediately find that the world’s ways and God’s ways are not the same.
Michael Rogness gives this example: “When I came into this world on the morning of March 23, 1935, I did nothing at all to deserve my parents’ love. One might love somebody because he or she is beautiful and thus “deserves” to be loved, or is at least easy to love. But my mother recalls that I entered the world red and wrinkled, like a prune, with a head the shape of a football. No, I did not deserve to be loved for any handsome good looks. Nor did I make my parents’ life any easier. On the contrary, I deprived them of sleep at all hours of the night. Before I arrived, they could travel with a suitcase or two. With me there, it took a trunk full of nursery equipment. But they loved me, not because of anything in me, but because of something in them. I did not deserve it. For me it was indeed a free lunch!”
He continues: “Some years later I was married, and our own children arrived. My wife and I did not look at the wee bundles in the hospital nursery and ask ourselves if we should love them. We just did. They cried at frightfully inconvenient times, but we loved them. Even when one of them with a pouting lower lip spit out in childish spite, “I don't like you anymore, daddy” -- yes, even then we smiled and loved them.
“Deserve love?” Rogness concludes, “Love does not ask such foolish questions. It is the very deepest nature of love that it is undeserved.”
Now if it is true, that in this world, we tend to get what we deserve, and, if it is true that love is the one exception, then we should ask this question: Where does this love come from? The answer will inevitably lead us to God.
John in his first letter makes it simple for us: “God is love” (I John 4:8). The one primary characteristic of God is that he loves. God loves not because we are lovable and deserving, but because it is God’s nature to love. God loves even that which is not lovable. And that’s what makes God’s love so wonderful and so incredible!
In the Old Testament one of the Hebrew words for love is: Hesed which translated means “steadfast love.” We see God showing this love throughout both the Old Testament (and the New Testament) as again and again the Hebrew people drifted away from him, and God saves them and brings them back into fellowship with Him. Yes, God loves us, but it’s more than that, God shows “grace” towards us, which is both unconditional and always.
The world tells us we have to earn everything, including love. Scripture tells us that we simply have to live in love, and from there this holy love will bloom in us and we will become people who know, not only what it feels like to be fully loved, but gives us the ability to love others in the fullest possible way.
Rest today and always, in God’s unconditional love and find life’s greatest gift.
~ Pastor Dan