Where Do You Experience Unconditional Love?
Do you ever wonder if there’s anyone who loves you with an unconditional love? I’ve felt a bit unlovable the past few days. Irritable and pressured.
This beautiful, sunny afternoon, Don, Paige and I took a walk. The trees’ shadows on one side of the street gave cool shade, while the sunny spots warmed us. Nancy and her white, five-pound Maltese passed on the other side of the street. Rexy barked and woofed, wanting to say hello to Paigey. Nancy picked her up and apologized.
“No need,” I said. “Paigey gets pretty excited at times too.”
Later we met Nancy going the opposite direction. This time we let our two dogs touch noses and sniff each other. I had to laugh when Nancy said, “If he can’t say hello to a dog he sees, he gets worried.”
What does a five-pound dog worry about?
Or a sixteen-pound one, for that matter? I know Paigey gets separation anxiety when I drop her off for grooming or when she sees us prepare to leave, especially if there are suitcases involved! She used to crawl into the open suitcase. Now, older, she simply watches with big, sad brown eyes.
After a bench stop along the way, we three walked on ‘til I said, “Stop right here. Just look at that view.” The many variegations of green, the different textures of bushes, flowers and trees, varying heights and sizes in front of us created a wonderful panoply of beauty.
Our state has finally turned the corner from rain, floods, and storms (much milder than in other parts of the country), to sunny days and cool nights.
Why worry instead of giving our concerns to the One who loves us unconditionally?
I was irritated the other day, for a reason I had to think through. There was no valid reason for my annoyance. Why didn’t I just tell my heavenly Father to hold me and forget it? He’s right there, ready to pick me up to calm me, as Nancy did Rexy.
As Don and I walked, hand in hand, I said there are two areas of my body I’d like to change if I could.
My husband’s response? “I like those parts of you. To me, you’re perfect.”
How humbling! Right there I experienced unconditional love. I have no doubt Don loves me with all his heart, mind and soul. He shows it in so many ways. And yet, in my heart I sometimes wonder how someone can love the parts of me I see as flawed, whether physical or emotional.
I have trouble accepting my husband’s unconditional love. Do you get that? And so, I know I don’t completely grasp or receive God’s love. And yet He says,
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out (John 6:37)
An old hymn became significant to me through a Christian novel I read many years ago, in which a man who had struggled with God was restored to faith. It’s called “The Love of God,” penned by Frederick M. Lehman (1868-1953).
1 The love of God is greater far
than tongue or pen can ever tell;
it goes beyond the highest star,
and reaches to the lowest hell.
The wand’ring child is reconciled
by God’s beloved Son.
The aching soul again made whole,
and priceless pardon won.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
the saints’ and angels’ song.
2 When ancient time shall pass away,
and human thrones and kingdoms fall;
when those who here refuse to pray
on rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
all measureless and strong;
grace will resound the whole earth round—
the saints’ and angels’ song. [Refrain]
3 Could we with ink the ocean fill,
and were the skies of parchment made;
were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill,
and ev’ryone a scribe by trade;
to write the love of God above
would drain the ocean dry;
nor could the scroll contain the whole,
though stretched from sky to sky. [Refrain]
May we who have trusted in Jesus Christ, as well as those still on a journey to find Truth, rest in the deep, deep love of our God this week.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17)