John 3:16, the most memorized verse in the Bible, tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not die but have everlasting life.”
What does this Godly love look like though, in a world where our vision is more clouded by pain and struggle than anything else?
Deuteronomy 30 gives us the big picture in five verses, with God revealing His very parental love for us:
“When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors.”
God has promised us that He will be our Father, defender, provider and savior if we trust and follow Him. By His very nature He has made us this promise, and since He is omni-benevolent – always good and without deception, which is sin – we know He is trustworthy and eager to uphold His promise.
The amazement comes when we understand that, even though we do not uphold our end – disobeying and straying, giving Him cause to punish and reprove – He does not forsake His promise. He does not tire of His sworn beneficence toward us, but always stands on the promise to bless and provide for us: a will manifested in Christ.
For our disobedience He will punish us for a time, but after the reproval He will always be willing to restore us in His grace, if we are faithful in forsaking our sin and returning to Him. His love is constant, never fades nor grows weary, and being our adopting Father, His arms will always be open, ready to receive and welcome back we, His prodigal children. If we turn from our contrary ways and return to Him, He will bless us and provide for us eternally; and if we choose to walk in those contrary ways unconverted, out of His unfailing love God will punish and afflict us to encourage our return, but not for a moment will His love for us be lessened or removed.
The cross of Christ – God’s love in a language we understand – stretches from the throne of Heaven to the gates of Hell. His is a love that spans all existence. There is nowhere He has not gone to illustrate just how important you are to Him – and how important He is to you.