Lot’s of folks out there can sing Robert Knight’s 1967 classic hit “Everlasting Love.” Well, at least you know the song I’m talking about. Whether you or I can actually sing it is quite another matter. It was such a popular number that several other artists, including Gloria Estefan, did remakes of the song. It was snappy–an upbeat number. And I’m sure you agree, the idea of everlasting love is extremely appealing.
In a world of disappointments and of broken promises, though I can see how it would be very easy for some people to be skeptical or wary of promises of everlasting love. People break their word so commonly. So it can be difficult to ponder a God who loved us even while we were in the womb and who will continue to love us with unwavering faithfulness every single day and moment of our entire lives. But it is true.
God loves you. Period. It has often been said (quite correctly) that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to make God love you any more than He already does, and there is nothing at all that you can do to make Him love you less. Your good works and mine won’t make Him love us more. Your self-centered (and self-damaging) thoughts and acts of rebellion–and mine, as well–won’t cause Him to love us less. Our thoughts and actions can seriously help or hurt us, but they do not change the nature or steadfastness of God’s love for us.
God’s Actions Prove His Love for You
As Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We didn’t have to go out and make ourselves acceptable to God in order for Him to start loving us. He loves us and has been pursuing a relationship with you since before you and I were born. The death Christ died, He died as a substitute for our sins thousands of years before our mothers gave birth to us. (1 John 2:2)
Jesus told His followers to go proclaim the good news to all the world. (Mark 16:15) He told them that, in the work of telling people the good news of salvation, He would be with His witnesses until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) That means that Jesus was thinking of you and me and of all people who need to hear the good news of His saving love all the way until the time of His return.
And God remains committed to calling us to Himself (or back to Himself) today, as long as we still have breath in our lungs. [There is one exception to that statement, which I’ll take up in tomorrow’s post.] Sheep wander, but the Good Shepherd pursues wandering sheep. (Luke 15:4) He fights the wolf in order to protect His sheep, even laying down His life for the sheep. (John 10:11-14)
Even God’s discipline is a sign of His love for us. To paraphrase Max Lucado in another common, yet true statement, Jesus loves you just as you are, but He loves you too much to leave you the way you are. What does God’s word say on this count? “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts. Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons.” (Hebrews 12:6-7)
Don’t assume that because your life is really hard right now God must not care about you or, worse yet, that God doesn’t love you. Surgery doesn’t feel good, but surgeons do it for the benefit of the patient–sometimes to save the patient’s very life! If God were to leave us in our selfishness, in our unforgiving stubbornness, in our childish impatience, or in our prideful prejudice, that would not be loving. He loves us, so He works on transforming us and on growing us up.
Sometimes, in His love for us, God pushes us out of our comfort zone. He knows that we can be so much more and do so much more than what we are and do now. He may push us beyond our ability to handle things ourselves ( 2 Corinthians 1:8), but that’s okay. When we rely on His strength, we can do anything that is right and good to do. (Philippians 4:13) His loving grace is sufficient for our every weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
From beginning to end the message of the Bible is a message of God’s everlasting love–the message of a loving Creator, Redeemer God whose promises are always kept. He has revealed both the ability and the will to deliver on everlasting love. Some days we just need to know that.