A Different Kind of Love
For this Valentine's Day
“Caleb, do you know I love you more than anything else in the world?”
I looked at my little son as I zipped his jacket for preschool this morning. His blue eyes met mine. “Mmm hmm.” Then very quietly, almost a whisper, he asked, “More than Daddy loves me?” I dared not say yes, although I couldn’t imagine anyone loving my son more than me. Plus, Daddy was standing right there. “I don’t know.” I smiled at him. “I’m not in Daddy’s heart.” My answer wasn’t great. It was the best I could do at 6:00 a.m.
My love for Caleb, as much as I want to protest, is finite. As much as I love him, it’s an imperfect and very human love. When he misbehaves, my response is tainted with human emotion. Even as his mother.
I couldn’t help but think about my Father’s love for me. It’s a different kind of love. His love is perfect. Infinite. Unconditional. As much as I love, the contrast between His love and my love is striking.
How He Loves Me
I see His love in different ways. Even in my mother’s womb, I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” and He knew me (Psalm 139:13-14). When, at three years old, I opened the car door while my father was driving on the freeway, He protected me (Psalm 4:8). When I got a terrible fever after giving birth to my oldest son and needed medical intervention, He healed me (Psalm 30:2).
It has been the darkest times when I felt the warmth of His love the most. Several years ago I went through an experience that brought deep grief and pain. I sat on my patio chair with my coffee in hand. Tears rolled down my face. I was hopeless. In the middle of my agony, I cried out. “Father help me! Please Father help me! I can’t do this without You.” His love wrapped tightly around me, in almost a physical sensation. My situation didn’t turn around immediately, but He was with me in the middle of it. I felt peace — the unexplainable kind — as I spoke with my Father.
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No matter what I’m going through, He hasn’t left me. No matter the situation, even if I think I’ve sinned too much and I can’t get back to Him, He accepts me as the father accepted his prodigal son back home. Romans 8:38-39 says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Eternal Gift
More than any of this, I know I am loved by my Father because of His gift of eternal life through Jesus. Ephesians 2:5 says “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” What kind of love would send a Son to die for others — especially wicked ones? I know I couldn’t do that. But He did. It is because of His great love that I hold onto hope of “abundant life” on earth while looking toward my forever home in Heaven.
I’m thankful Caleb doesn’t have to settle with my inadequacies and failures. And I’m sure I’ll make more mistakes as he grows. But he has a Father who loves him more than I can imagine. A Father who created him, protects him and heals him. A Father who will never leave him. When I miss the mark, He won’t. It’s a different — the best — kind of love.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies (Psalm 57:10).