Tuesday, 5 August 2014

I love you

Three words. So easy to say. So full of meaning.

I am currently visiting my parents. On Sunday, my brother and his family joined us for the day, as we all attend the same church. At some point in the afternoon my three-year-old nephew, Ewan, put his arms around me and the conversation went something like this:

Ewan: “I love you”
Me: “I love you too”
Ewan: “Why?” [When do kids grow out of the ‘why’ stage?!]
Me: “Because you are you”
Ewan: “I love you”
Me: “I love you too”
Ewan: “Why?”
Me: “Why do you think?”
Ewan: “Because it’s me”

As I was lying in bed that night, reflecting on my day, this conversation came back to me, and it struck me that right there, in that conversation, are some wonderful truths about our relationship with God…

It was so sweet to hear those words from my nephew’s lips, so warming, and I just wanted to hold him tight and never let him go. Children can be fickle – at another point in the day he had hit me, and sulked in the naughty-corner for some time until he was willing to say sorry to me, after which spontaneously came, “I love you”. The words were just as sweet to me then, even though he had been naughty and unrepentant, as they were when he was full of smiles and fun. I also wonder how much my nephew really understands what he is saying, he doesn’t really know yet what it means to love someone through all the ups and downs of life, but that doesn’t make his words any less sweet or any less genuine at that moment in time. Maybe God feels the same – maybe it is just as sweet in his ears to hear us say, “I love you”, even though we are fickle, even though we do not truly grasp the fullness of meaning in those words, even though we often demonstrate a very unloving attitude and our affections can easily be drawn elsewhere, yet his father-heart for us is much greater than my aunty-heart for my nephew, and so hearing us turn to him and say, “I love you” is a truly sweet sound in his ears.

And then there was my response, which was not a theologically thought through answer, but just the first one that came to me, and the truth – I love Ewan just because he is Ewan, because he is my own dear nephew, even though he can drive me crazy at times. Does this not also, in a very small way, reflect something of how God loves us? It’s not because of anything I have done (Rom. 5:8), He just loves me because I am me, because I am part of his family. If only I were as quick to grasp this as my nephew was to grasp why I loved him!

May we, as Paul wrote to the church in Ephesians,
“…have power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19