Almost eleven years ago, when I was a newly minted mother, I enjoyed a treasured moment that has remained with me to this day. I was awakened in the night by a hungry baby’s cry. I shuffled to the nursery in my bathrobe and slippers with bleary eyes and messy hair—a distinctly unromantic figure. I mechanically lifted baby Juliet from her crib and nursed her in a rocker beside the window. When she had had her fill, she relaxed in my arms, dozey and happy. She had the sweetest face (still does!) with delicate features and tiny rosebud mouth. She was almost bald except for a growth of soft, pale fuzz with a swirl of reddish blond hair at the crown. Even though I was exhausted and shabby, I was aware of the romantic aspect of that moment—a young mother cuddling her drowsy baby who was dressed in footy pajamas, moonlight streaming through the window. As I looked down on Juliet, I was flooded with love for her. It is difficult to describe the intensity of that love. It was overwhelming. I adored this child. Suddenly, I was astonished by a new thought. “Oh my word! This is how my mother loves me!” I had known my parents love me, but it hadn’t occurred to me that anyone loved me that much, that powerfully. I am deeply loved.
Then my thoughts took another turn. God loves me even more than that. Wow.
I have heard other parents say that you can’t really understand the love of God until you have a child. This assertion is not supported by scripture. For one thing, it devalues those who do not have children, suggesting somehow that their walks with God will always be inadequate. In fact, none of us has any ability to measure the work of the Holy Spirit in fellow believers. Moreover, our God can reveal himself in any way he likes—whether by making us parents or by some other means.
In truth, the love of God will always be in some way unknowable. Consider the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus:
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, 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 3:17-19. (New International Version)
We keep learning about God’s love. We keep plumbing the depths. We keep searching the heights. God, in his time and in his wisdom, increases our knowledge with each new experience of his love. He gave me a glimpse of its breadth and length in the moonlight that night. I return to that memory from time to time, and I am flooded with gratitude.
I pray that you, my dear friends and readers, would know (at least in part) how deeply you are loved by God. You are his very precious child.