Have you ever been drenched, deluged, totally saturated, immersed in so much rain that it overwhelms you? Have you ever thought of God’s love this way, as if His love continually rains down on us, like an endless personal drenching?
Over the years, people have described their experience of God’s love as:
“Divine love is inherently spreading, engulfing, embracing, overflowing.” (Ortlund)
“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not”. (CS Lewis)
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us”. (Augustine)
“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
“No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you”. (Franklin Graham)
Do you ever wonder how people who experience many hurts and difficulties can then tell you, with that steady gaze, that they are glad they have been through their situations, their circumstances, and that it feels as if Jesus is so much closer to them now than before? That their life is richer now than before and their experience of life IN Jesus has taken them to a much deeper level in their relationship with Him?
How does that work? Why do they have that steady gaze when telling you that God has changed them through their challenges and difficulties? Why do they now have a look of hope in their eyes, even now while they are still living through very difficult situations?
Do we have to experience hardship and suffering to get that hope, that change, that ‘going deeper’ in Christ? How can we grow in our knowledge and experience of His love for us? It’s possible that the key is not ‘jumping hoops’ or ‘getting rungs on the board’, but just that, our understanding and experience of His love. How do you explain what God’s love is like? What does God’s love mean to you? Do some of the thoughts and quotes above resonate with you?
Knowing about and ‘Knowing’ Jesus, are two separate things. Knowing that Jesus loves me is a piece of information. ‘Knowing’, experiencing, Jesus’ love for me takes me deeper into who He is, how He loves me and then draws me closer to Him at deeper and deeper levels.
That’s why Paul prayed this prayer when he prayed for all readers to:
“have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length, and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3: 18-19).
Knowing Jesus’ love, His all encompassing, unchanging love, makes it possible to look beyond the circumstance, the situation and its feelings. Knowing His love changes the way we understand our lives. Knowing His love means I discover that He gazes lovingly at me every day in every situation, today, tomorrow, and forever. This makes me want to share it and show it to others so that they can also get to know and love Him.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name” (Hebrews 13:15). Isn’t it interesting to note that praise referred to is when we confess His name, ie tell of who He is and all that He has done.
With Jesus gazing lovingly at us all the time, we can confidently offer a sacrifice of praise, believing that His ‘eye is always on us’ and that He is with us in every situation and circumstance we find ourselves in. And we can broaden that understanding – knowing that Jesus IS gazing lovingly at every person, every student and every school family, we can boldly pray Paul’s prayer for each person in our school community, asking God to give us opportunities to share His precious tender love with them.
May we ‘know’ the drenching of God’s love on a daily basis, soaking in His love and finding ourselves overflowing. May we all choose to offer our sacrifices of praise, focusing on how tender, kind and loving our Saviour is, and sharing our ever-growing knowledge and experience of Him with our school community for His glory.