“For God so loved the world, He gave His Only Begotten Son…” (John 3:16)
It is one thing to know the fact that God loves us – it is quite another to truly experience that love.
Sometimes we forget that Jesus not only came to pay the price for our sins – but also so that we would be able to truly experience the love of God, personally. What Jesus did for us, enabled each of us to become God’s Own children – adopted into the Family of an infinitely-loving Father. As insignificant as we were (compared to the Almighty), God chose to love us – and sent His Son to bring us all into the opportunity of being His very Own.
A real-life illustration (that I shared a few years ago) has helped me…
A few years ago, our kids found a baby mouse out on our driveway. She was so young (only a few days old)… and suffering – surely on death’s door. But the kids brought her in to the house, fed her, nursed her back to health (in spite of all my doubts) – and turned an old aquarium into her new home.
And for nearly 3 years, “Zoey” was a part of our family.
Then, just a few weeks before Thanksgiving, our daughter went in to feed her, and found Zoey curled up in her little “igloo” home… she had died in her sleep.
Now, some might say that all our efforts and energies were surely wasted on something so insignificant as a mouse. But I know this… it mattered to that one mouse. She could have died in agony (baking in our driveway on that rather warm spring day). Instead, she lived a long full life (for a mouse) and died peacefully in the home we provided for her.
In the days she was with us, she provided us with much laughter (as she rolled around in her ball; or as we watched her scamper about her cage and jump up on top of her water bottle [just to get a closer look at us]). I will never forget how she loved to eat M&Ms (who doesn’t!); or run for hours on her wheel; or when she would jump up into our daughter’s hand, so she could pet her like some tiny little puppy.
You wouldn’t think it possible – but that little mouse brought more than a few moments of joy to our household.
But here is the most amazing thing… When she died, the whole family shed real tears. Even though she was just a mouse, her passing brought a profound sadness to all of our hearts.
As I thought about this, I realized something crucially important. What made Zoey different from every other mouse we have ever encountered, was the fact that we brought her into our home, and into our family – we invested ourselves, our time, and our resources into her life. We chose to open our lives to the tiniest of creatures – and we chose to make a place for her in our hearts. We felt real loss and sadness because she really was a part of our family.
That got me to thinking about how God loves us. Are we really any more significant than a mouse, compared to Him? Why would He even bother to give us a second thought – or care for us in the least. Yet He chooses to love us – and His every desire is to bring us into His Own home and invest Himself, His time, and His resources into our very lives.
That is WHY He sent Jesus for us!
It is never really about the worth of the object that is loved – it is always about the extent to which true love will go to express the fullness of what abides at its heart.