I think most everyone who has a relationship with the Lord would say that God loves us. We know that the Bible says that God is love. We know that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to pay the price for our sin and die for us. But do we really understand the depth of this great love He has for us? I don't think we do. Maybe in part we will never fully understand it because we are human...we are just not capable of that perfect all-encompassing love. But maybe there's another part that doesn't understand it because we still don't really understand who God is and all He has done for us.
I've been thinking of the topic of God's love over the last couple days, and I must admit that I am just in AWE of the fact that He could love me so fully and completely. I have been reading the book, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and it has totally shaken me up...in a good way. This isn't the first time I have read Redeeming Love, in fact I have probably read through the entire book at least 10 times. No matter how many times I read it, the message still strikes me as if it were the first time as I try and fail to wrap my mind around the love that our Father has for each one of us.
For those of you who have never read Redeeming Love, I will give you a quick overview. It is the retelling of the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer in the 1800's. For those of you who are unsure of those names, I will refresh your memory. Hosea was a prophet and God told him to marry a prostitute- Gomer. The whole book of Hosea tells of Hosea loving Gomer and going after her to get her back even after she went back to prostitution. God wanted Hosea and the people of Israel to understand His love for them...that even when they were turning their backs on their "first love" and prostituting themselves spiritually with other false gods, His love for them remained unfailing. No matter how many times they failed Him, He would continue to run after them because of His great love for them. In the book Redeeming Love, a God-fearing man named Michael Hosea is led by the Spirit to marry a prostitute called Angel. She betrays him and runs away from him several times, yet his love for her does not change. He does his best to show her God's character through his life, showing her in countless ways that no matter what she does or what she did, his love for her will remain constant. The book is a beautiful love story, not only about the way Michael pursues and woos Angel, but also of how God pursued her...and is pursuing each one of us.
I can't explain it as eloquently as I would like to...there are just no words to descirbe a love that great. It is so beautiful to know that our Father in heaven loves us so tenderly. To Him, we are lovely even when we do unlovely things. He sees the potential that He has created in us, the potential to complete and fulfill the incredible plans He has had for us since before we were born. And when stumble and fall, he never gives up on us. He still speaks to us, telling us of His love, wooing us gently back into his presence. He just wants to love us and have us love Him in return. He is the Bridegroom and we are His bride. He CHOSE us, even though in ourselves we were unworthy. He clothed us with His grace, His mercy, and His righteousness...He gave us all of Himself just so that we could be with Him. His love for us was so great that he made a way to fellowship with us. We didn't deserve it. At one time or another, we didn't even want it. Yet, He continues to call us by name. He cares for us, He understands our needs and they are fulfilled in Himself. He paid the price and before Him we need not feel shame or condemnation...because we are His. How great is His love for us!
I would definitely recommend Redeeming Love to any of you who have not yet read it. It is an incredible story, and a beautiful analogy of God's amazing love. Only when we begin to understand God's love for us can we begin to see ourselves as He sees us: precious, lovely, and valuable. Not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done and who He is in us!