So we have all heard the expression that God loves us, and in our minds it makes sense and we believe it to be true. But most of us dont really think about what it REALLY means, to have the God of all the universe love you individually.
First, lets get a little philospohical. What is love? What are the different kinds of love, and what are the ways in which this love is expressed. The first and most obvious is, of course, romantic love, between a man and a woman who have pledged their lives to one another for life. But this kind of deep, intimate, marital love is not limited to just humans; Jesus calls us his bride! Think about that, there really is no relationship on earth more intimate than marriage, and this is exactly the relationship that Jesus wants to have with us. Now I can't say that I have every loved someone this way, because if I truly did then it would not be a past love, but still there. But I can say from experience that at one time I believed myself to be there, and honestly I was ready and willing to give everything for her. I thought about her all the time, and wanted only to be with her, to make her happy. I felt all that and it wasn't even the love that exists in marriage, let alone the love that Jesus has for us as his bride! We cannot possibly imagine just how much Jesus loves us and wants us to be with him, but maybe one day, we will all be married and know just a little more of what it may be like. Until then, just be patient.
Ok, so we have covered marriage. Now how about the parents, loving their children? Again, this is not something I can relate to personally, but I have certainly been the object of love of my parents, and have heard so much from pastors and famiy members about what it means to them to be a father. I have heard that having a child is the single greatest challenge and the single greatest joy that a person on this earth can feel. It is tough trying to raise your children right, to love them when they just spit up in your hair or crashed your new car, to not "mess them up," to keep them away from the pressures of high school. It is not easy to love something that doesnt always want your love, something that is constantly defying your will and trying to do things their own way, when you, with the greater life experience, clearly know better than them the consequences. And yet, despite all this, parents love their children because they created them. Even a child not raised by its biological mother and father was still created by those who raised them. Our parents spend our entire youth teaching us to make good decisions, helping us succeed, encouraging us to do our best. They know that their children have nothing to offer them. Think of an infant: it can't pay the rent, it cant mow the lawn, it can't clean up its bedroom, it can't even go to the bathroom on its own, and yet the parents love the child because it is theirs. There isnt a single thing the parents wouldnt do for that child. And this is exactly why we call God our Father. Because of our sin, there isnt a single thing that we can offer God, but He still wants to raise us up as his children. He wants only what is best for us, and that just happens to be the simple fact that we love him all our days with all our strength.
Marriage, parenting, now how about siblings? There is a special bond that exists between brothers and sisters. Even though they may fight and argue and get on each other's nerves and make the other cry, there is a special love there that keeps the struggles from tearing them apart. Siblings stick together, and are always within reach. Even when siblings begin to grow up and move away from each other, they manage to meet up, to see their parents again, and to hang out as friends. I am the middle of five; my two older brothers are living in their own house, I live on campus at A&M, and my little brother and sister are still at home. But while at some point in my life I have been beyond annoyed with all of them, I love them all, and they all love me, and they all love each other. It is so apparent every time I come home and see how happy they are all to see me, and for them to see each other as a compete group. There is a unity in us when we are together, a love that keeps us together. And this is how we have been called to live with one another, especially those who live in Christ. Numerous times in the Bible, especially the epistles, the audience is addressed as "brothers and sisters". Jesus himself refers to the people as brothers and sisters, commanding us to take care of one another, and in doing so we are taking care of Jesus. God says in Genesis that is it not good for man to be alone, and that is exactly what is implied by us as being called brothers and sisters. God loves us so much that he created us to be in communion with him, but until we can do that fully in heaven, He has graciously given us the gift of community with others, which has been designed to be inseparable.
God is CRAZY in love with us. We are His creation, made to be like him. GOD IS LOVE, and we are made to be like him, so therefore we are made to BE LOVE. In all situations with all people, God has called us to love him and to love others as much as ourselves. The love that we give and that we receive is but a tiny glimpse of the love God has for us, but every time you feel loved, remember how much infinitely more God loves you.