Being a parent is one of God’s greatest gifts. By experiencing the unconditional love a parent has for their child, we get just a small glimpse of God’s love for His children. Regardless of their behavior or what they can or cannot do for you or how many tantrums they decide to throw in a day, you continue to love them even when you don’t “feel” love for them. Your child doesn’t have to earn your love or acceptance; they have it fully before they’ve ever even done anything. That’s why a parent’s love is so special and is the closest picture we have of God’s love for us.
We live in a very performance-driven world where we’re hardwired to believe in the American Dream – that hard work gets us what we want. We pull all-nighters to get good grades in school. We put in a ton of hours at work hoping we’ll get that promotion. So, it’s natural for us to expect that hard work and effort equals rewards. And for a lot of people, this attitude translates into the way they view God’s love. But God doesn’t work that way. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love because love isn’t something that God gives, it’s who He is. There aren’t enough prayers we can pray or people we can convert that’ll make God love us anymore than He already does.
You see, God doesn’t love the way we love. We love based on feelings and emotions that can change from one moment to the next. He doesn’t love us because we’re lovable or we make Him feel good. He doesn’t have to try to love us; He is love. His love is constant, steadfast, and unconditional, despite our behavior or attitude towards Him. He believes the best about us even when we’re not at our best. You couldn’t make God stop loving you even if you tried because His love isn’t based on anything you can do or say; it’s based on His character.
1 John 4:16 says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love.” When we begin to put our trust in God’s love, it takes the pressure off of us because we no longer feel like we have to perform in order to receive God’s love. And when we’re able to fully trust God’s love, we can begin to trust His will for our lives. Trusting God’s love means learning to follow Him even when we don’t think His ways make sense because we trust that He wants the very best for us.
We must put down our preconceived notions of God’s love because as long as we continue to tie His love to our actions and behavior, we’ll constantly try to work our way to God and we’ll end up missing Him. God’s love transcends the human definition of love to a point that is hard for our human minds to grasp. His love is exclusively His. It flows from His being and is the very essence of who He is. There is no other love in this world like it.