How many ways can we describe God’s love for us? How many ways has He shown us He loves us? Last week, I started to list the ways God loves us. My list is not exhaustive, but I want to give some more important ways God has shown us He loves us. He doesn’t love us with a far-away, indulgent kind of love, but with a multifaceted, whole-hearted, intimate kind of love–the kind of love we long for and cannot find a way to satisfy when we look to anyone else.
God loves us as an adoptive father loves his adoptive child.
Ephesians 1:5,6: “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
I have never adopted, but it seems to me there’s something a little more in an adoptive father than in the traditional father I already mentioned. After all, a biological father may not have even meant to have children, but an adoptive father was intentional in His love towards the one who needed Him. God compares Himself to this figure. He also intentionally chooses us for His love. I write more about this here.
God loves us as a daddy loves his child.
Galatians 4:6: “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'”
You may think we already covered this, but this is also different from a father loving his child. “Abba” means “daddy.” The word “daddy” denotes intimacy and affection. God loves us THIS way, too–letting us jump up onto His lap and fling our arms around His neck as He wraps His arms close around us. My husband goes more in depth on this subject here.
God loves us as a husband loves his wife.
Isaiah 62:5b: “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.”
Have you ever met a 90 year old man still calling his wife, “my bride”? This is the kind of love God has for you who chose to marry Him. No matter how long your marriage has been, He still cherishes you with an undying passionate love. Even when you are unfaithful, He still pines for you. See Ezekiel 6:9: “then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols. And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations.” God describes Himself as having His heart broken over His unfaithful people. His love is deep and enduring. Here is a more in-depth look at this one.
If these metaphors were not enough, God uses language such as in Jeremiah 31:3: “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’ ” I mentioned another verse several weeks ago, “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (Zephaniah 3:17). This type of language is a bit shocking to me–God, the Head of all the Universe, rejoicing over His people with shouts of joy? Who are we to merit any such joy? What kind of grace is this? If you want to be astonished by His love even more, grab a good commentary and read the books of Hosea and Song of Songs.
We don’t even understand love without Him, for God Himself is love. As John puts it in I John 4:7,8,19, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God… We love, because He first loved us.”
How did He first love us? Yes, in all the ways I described above and in my last post, but ultimately, He gave His life for us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God loves us so much He died for us. In fact, He loves us so much, He was willing to give His only beloved Son to die in our place. I used to think God being willing to die for us was the greater show of love, but now I’m a mother, I’m not sure. This love is not an impulsive, Romeo type of love, a boy willing to die for an almost unknown girl because of overwrought emotions. God’s type of love is everlasting and never-ending.
How could I not fall in love with a God like that?