It was time. There was no crisis, no panic, no rushing. We’d been waiting for this for nine long months; now it was time to go to the hospital, start breathing in that special way we learned in Lamaze class, and welcome my son into our lives. Everything was routine, nothing unexpected, all going as planned.
When it was over and everyone was settled in, my wife suggested I might be hungry, and it’d be okay if I went to get something to eat. As I walked down the hall to the elevators, I felt good, I felt content, life was working. I pressed the down button and was pleased the elevator was empty. I stepped in and the door closed behind me. Then it hit me. I was totally unprepared for what happen next. I started to laugh! Out loud. Hysterically!
It wasn’t a laughter from humor – it was laughter because there was too much joy for me to hold, and laughter was the only way it could spill out. That day my life changed, the way I saw the world changed, but most importantly my understanding of God and His love expanded in ways I’d never imagined existed.
All of this was brought back to me a few nights ago as I read Patriarchs and Prophets. I was reading chapter 6, about Enoch. “But after the birth of his first son, Enoch reached a higher experience; he was drawn into a closer relationship with God. He realized more fully his own obligations and responsibility as a son of God. And as he saw the child’s love for its father, its simple trust in his protection; as he felt the deep, yearning tenderness of his own heart for that first-born son, he learned a precious lesson of the wonderful love of God to men in the gift of His Son, and the confidence which the children of God may repose in their heavenly Father.” And what was the impact of that change? “The infinite, unfathomable love of God through Christ became the subject of his meditations day and night; and with all the fervor of his soul he sought to reveal that love to the people among whom he dwelt.”
God is “relational” – He’s not solitary. 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.” Love requires a relationship and God has given us a variety of relationships to learn from: our mothers and our fathers, our brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and one that has the potential for a tremendous impact, our sons and our daughters. From each of these we can learn some special aspect of God’s love – yes, even when they’re flawed. But we do have to look; we do have to be open to what God wants to show us in these relationships.
Who in your life has taught you about God’s love? When you think about those special people in your life, what are the lessons God has put there for you to find? Are there lessons even in the failures? Sometimes the contrast between the kind of love God has and what we experience can teach us volumes. What can you learn about yourself and your relationship with God? His love is unconditional, it’s unfailing – He never quits loving you, even when you mess up.
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8. (Msg)