This is a repost from Nov 21, 2013.
My wife and I love cats, and love our cats, probably more than we should. Right now we have one. We just lost her brother a few weeks ago. (I’m not writing this for sympathy.) We have often said and still say, “If [they]she only knew how much we love her” or “If she only knew how well she’s treated.” Even though she’s gotten whinier since her brother died (which also means she’s healthy, because like her brother, she has kidney disease) and is a diva princess, we love her all the same.
I believe the love God has for his children may be similar in that way. Even though we have no idea how much God loves us, can’t begin to appreciate it fully–and even wonder why he seems so harsh–he still loves us more than we’ll ever know in this lifetime. That’s part of what real love is. When a spouse develops a disease that renders them unable to know you or appreciate how much you love them, you don’t divorce them, as some like Pat Robertson would advise, you love them as best as you can.
One of the differences with us compared to cats or people with something like Dementia (who, if you don’t mind the incredibly insensitive joke, might not be all that dissimilar) is that our knowledge of how much God loves us can be increased. In order for this to happen, we need to spend time in Scripture and also prayer. One nice thing about this is it can’t be put into the legalism category in any way. This is for our benefit, and God’s glory. Learning more about God’s love isn’t going to make God love us more. That doesn’t even make sense. When God tells us to work out our own salvation, that’s not a command to “do our chores”, it’s something for our good–something that’s possible for us to love to do. This is what is written about God’s law in the Old Testament over and over. David and other inspired writers loved God’s law, whether it’s the Pentateuch, God’s commands or the Old Testament as they knew it.
We are free to spend time learning how wide and long and high and deep God’s love is for us. Even though much of this comes about through experience–God directing our circumstances, comforting us, providing for us–Scripture is primarily where we gain the knowledge of God and his love. We can know that God will speak to his children through Scripture and reveal more and more of himself to us, even if there are times when he seems quiet in that regard. There is also comfort in God’s wrath, knowing how much he hates evil, how it will be destroyed forever in the end and how much God is for us in this evil world (Romans 8:31 and much of Revelation and Genesis and the Bible come to think of it). But that’s for another post.
Let’s participate, or keep on, more and more.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.
98Your commands are always with me
and make me wiser than my enemies.
99I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
100I have more understanding than the elders,
for I obey your precepts.
101I have kept my feet from every evil path
so that I might obey your word.
102I have not departed from your laws,
for you yourself have taught me.
103How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.
105Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:2