The Wonder of His Love
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
My toddler’s “why” questions stop me midmotion, whether I’m folding laundry or buckling him into his car seat. Why are the clouds white? Why did our pet fish die? Why do I have to go to bed?
My answers often seem self-evident, until he continues countering (“Why?”), and we end up with the ultimate answer to every 3-year-old’s life question: “Because God loves us.”
That response had always satisfied him. Until the day it didn’t.
“Why does God love us?”
His simple question left me scrambling.
How would you answer that question?
Maybe we know the Sunday-school song: “Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so.” But that doesn’t answer the question: Why does God love us?
Ponder this mystery for a moment: The Creator of our universe, who places the constellations and puffs cumulonimbus clouds, who paints peacocks and sunsets and rainbows, who knows the end from the beginning and spoke the world into existence — that same God sees us, knows us and loves us.
He sees you. He knows you. He loves you.
The Bible tells us that, before we breathed our first breath, God knew every sunrise we’d live to see, every gray hair we’d try to hide and every mistake we’d ever make. (Psalm 139:15-16) He knows us intimately, and He invites us to be His beloved children anyway.
God Himself took on flesh — living, dying and resurrecting to life again — to demonstrate the extent of His great love for us.
Who can comprehend such love? The singer-songwriter King David said it’s too marvelous for his understanding. (Psalm 139:6) The persecutor-turned-preacher Paul prayed we’d grasp the immeasurability of Christ’s love, (Ephesians 3:17-19) and John, the self-described disciple whom Jesus loved, used the word “love” 57 times in his short first letter. Our key verse comes from John’s letter:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (1 John 3:1).
Yet for all we learn about God’s love on the pages of Scripture, there’s no simple answer to my toddler’s question: Why?
So I try to cobble together an answer for him: “God loves us … because He created us.”
“To love Him.”
“Because He loves us.”
So we’re back to where we started.
But perhaps some questions don’t require a quick answer but rather quiet wonder.
Maybe God loves us simply because it’s His good pleasure, because He delights to lavish His love on us. Maybe the point isn’t to decipher an intellectual enigma. Maybe the point is to respond with an open heart that receives and echoes back love.
A little hand tugs on my sleeve, wide eyes waiting for an answer.
So I wrap my arms around him and snuggle my nose in the crook of his neck, breathing in the fragrance of this little human, wondering, If this is how I feel about my son, how much more does God love us?
But out loud I say only, “I don’t know why, buddy. But I know God loves you, and I love you, too.”
Heavenly Father, how great is Your love for us! I can’t comprehend it, and I confess that I often take Your love for granted. Would You grow in me the capacity to grasp more of Your love for us in Christ Jesus? I trust You to continue Your good work in me. And God — I love You, too! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.