John 15:12 – This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (NKJV)
1 John 4:10 – This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (NIV)
Our Lord's love is portrayed to us over and over again, first in His Word and then by the preaching of the Word, and it is also demonstrated to us in our everyday lives through our friends, loved ones, and more importantly, our parents.
I have a little love story that I would like to share with you. Two years ago, my mother, who was 92 at the time, fell and broke four ribs. I loved her dearly, and wanting her to be as comfortable as possible at night, I slept with her for six weeks after the accident to make sure that she would not roll over and find herself unable to get back into a more restful position due to pain. I was also afraid that she might get up alone at night, fall, and increase her injury and her discomfort.
One night after about the sixth time getting in and out of bed to use the commode, which we had placed by her bedside, I became exasperated because she was keeping me awake. I said to her, "Mamma, you get back in bed and stay here. The next time you get up out of this bed, I am going to be very annoyed with you, and I will leave you here alone and go to my own bed."
One more time, I tucked her into bed, and less than thirty seconds later, she very gently reached over to make sure I was covered, and asked me, "Are you warm enough, dear?" My heart stopped. This dear, dear mother of mine who was suffering discomfort with four broken ribs, and to whom I had spoken so unkindly, was more concerned that I was warm and comfortable than about her own hurts or my being annoyed with her.
I leaned over, kissed her cheek, and told her how much I loved her. And do you know what she said to me? "I know you do." I was forgiven for my impatient actions by one who loved me.
As I lay there in the dark, I thought about how blessed I was to enjoy the love and forgiveness of my mother, and more importantly, the love and forgiveness of my Saviour. I wondered whether we really know that God loves us, sincerely and unconditionally. He loved us enough to send His Son, who gave His own life for us in order to grant us eternal life. He loves us so much that He continually watches us and cares deeply about what happens to us every minute of every day. He is willing to forgive and forget our every transgression when we lay our burden at His feet.
Mamma finally fell asleep, and as I lay there watching the sun come up, my heart was full of joy. I realized how much Mamma loved me, and how much I loved and cared for her, without reservation. Even more importantly, I was certain that the King of kings loves me and is my Saviour, and that I love Him. I was thankful that I had the opportunity to lie awake and count my blessings.
Mamma passed away in July this year. My heart is very, very sad, and there is not an hour that goes by each day when I don't think of her over and over again and remember all the wonderful times we had together and how much I love her. And I hear her say to me, "I know you do." I miss my dear Mamma, but I know she is with her Saviour and Lord. When she tells Him she loves Him, Christ will say to her, "I know you do", and He will keep His watchful, loving eye on her throughout eternity.
Prayer: Eternal God our Father, You have created every good and perfect gift. We praise Your name because You are ready to forgive and forget our transgressions, never more to be remembered, when we ask Your forgiveness. We thank You for the gift of love and forgiveness, which enables us to release any spiteful and evil thoughts against one another after we say that we forgive them, and also to embrace and nurture those whom we thought had treated us wrongly. May we search Your Word and dedicate our lives to You, so that when we turn our eyes towards You and look into Your wonderful face and say, "I love You, Lord," You will say to us, "I know you do." Amen.