Monday, April 30, 2007

God's Motherly Affection 12-15-06

The last several days Shelley (my wife) and I have been in Fargo, North Dakota, visiting our oldest daughter (Denay), her husband (Heighlos) and their super-adorable eight-month-old son (Soel). We ate, talked, watched movies, shopped and, most of all, doted over Soel.

Our gandson is so cute it hurts! His smile would melt the heart of any Scrooge in a millisecond. Plus, he’s a genius. I am serious! He’s only eight months old and he’s already figured out he can produce maximal velocity and volume on his spin-thingy-whatever by grabbing it on the farthest side from himself before yanking it toward himself. How many eight-month-olds can do that?

All of them for all I know, but I have the right to believe what I want about my grandson!

Anyway, for me the most enjoyable part of the trip was when Denay, Shelley, and I took Soel to the mall to get his picture taken with Santa (Heighlos unfortunately had to work). During the picture taking and throughout the day I watched Denay care for Soel. It was heart-meltingly beautiful. Whenever she so much as looked at Soel, you could feel her love. It radiated from her. It was a delight to watch.

And then at some point I wondered to myself; do I truly believe that God looks at me the way Denay looks at Soel? While part of me answers, “yes” to this question, part of me wants to answer “no.” And when I explore that part of me, I find it’s because this part of me thinks that Denay’s motherly love is too loving for God and too loving for me.

Think about that! Too loving? How can any human love outrun God’s love? If God is the source and standard of all true love (1 Jn.4.8), wouldn’t his love be incomparably greater? So, however I imagine God looking at me, must it not be at least as beautiful as the way Denay looks at Soel?

We insult God when we think he’s too holy to love us sinners like this – as though “holiness” and “love” could ever be separated like this. We insult God when we habitually attribute more love, grace, and tenderness to new mothers than we do to God.

If we want to experience and be transformed by the love of God, we’ve got to adjust our mental pictures of God so they look more like Denay doting over Soel – and Jesus dying for each of us. When the Israelites feel forsaken and forgotten by God, the true God says:

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast

and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

your walls are ever before me. (Is. 49.15-16)"

Can you hear God say that to you? Can you imagine God as a mother who rejoices over you with singing (Zeph. 3.17) or as a loving parent who runs to embrace you after you’ve rebelled against him (Lk. 15.11-24)? Can you imagine the eyes of Jesus staring into your eyes with an affection that resembles (or better, goes far beyond) the affection of a mother like Denay?

We manifest true kingdom living as we experience the perfect motherly love of God toward us. See God’s love in the eyes of Jesus, and be transformed (See 2 Cor. 3.17-18).