by Stephen Frick
Romans 5:6-9: (English Standard Version)
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
Before the worship service started this past Sunday, my daughter, Melanie, asked if she could sit beside me. She could have sat by a friend her age, but she wanted to sit by me. I was quite happy that she wanted to sit beside me, and said “Sure, you can sit with me.” As if I would turn her down? It’s not like she hasn’t sat beside me before. She has several times, so why she should actually ask, I don’t know. At any rate, I felt quite honored. Did I sit by my mom or dad in church at age 10? I SHOULD THINK NOT! I was MUCH TOO OLD to be sitting by my parents in church at age 10!
After service began, she proceeded to snuggle up close to me and lean her head on my shoulder. I’m not sure why. Maybe sitting close to me made her feel more secure, or maybe it was just her way of showing love for me at that time. It doesn’t really matter, as I’ll happily accept such display of love without question. While sitting beside her, and realizing that I made her feel secure and that she loves me very much, I was reminded of the kind of love The Father yearns for from us – his creation, children of God. Perhaps there is nothing more meaningful to me than my children’s love for me. Is there any possession that I would rather have than the love of my children? A resounding NO! Absolutely nothing.
I’d like to think she will always display a child-like love for her earthly father – that she will always want to sit beside me (not just at church) through all her future teenage angst and beyond, and that she will lean on me for anything or for no reason at all. Perhaps… perhaps she will, but I’m not exactly counting on it. I was once a teen and now a distracted adult who most of the time doesn’t snuggle with the Father or lean on Him when I should even though I know I should. How much would He enjoy such action if I did? Maybe Melanie will even have days that she despises me, but if she does, I will love her just the same and want her to sit beside me and lean on me no matter the reason. Always.
And so it is with The Father’s yearning for our love. Through the love I have for my own children, God’s love for me and for mankind is not a mystery to me. It is COMPLETELY and UTTERLY clear. I love my children more than my own life and would give up my life if it meant that they would be saved from harm or even just a miserable life – a life that doesn’t know God. If throwing myself in front of a car would save my daughter or son from death or injury, I would without hesitation, because the pain or death that would come to me for that small amount of time would be nothing compared to the pain that I would feel for NOT doing so. This is the love The Father demonstrated for us through sending Christ, who showed this kind of love while he walked the Earth, but also selflessly showed this love for us on The Cross, so that his blood would justify us from our sin and save us from death.
After writing this I know why Melanie asked to sit beside me, snuggle up next to me and lean her head on me. Sometimes God uses subtle things to help us understand; we just have to listen.
Prayer: Thank you Father for the love that you have shown us through Christ’s selfless act of love, sacrifice and forgiveness on the Cross. Let the meaning of the Cross dwell in our hearts and inspire us to what should be our utmost for His Highest in our daily lives. Be with us through your Holy Spirit to guide us, empower us and to know your mind so that we will be the parents, spouses and friends who will show selfless acts of love, sacrifice and forgiveness to others.