But anyone who does not love does not know God–for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4: 8-10
When we reached the redemption center Mama marched straight in, past the appliances, toys, hairdryers and vacuums, heading straight for the linens department. She did not look around or hesitate until she abruptly stopped, a smile spreading across her face. “It’s still here!” she whispered in relief. I remember thinking that whatever she had spotted must be very special to warrant such determination and such joy. When I realized that the blue treasure she clutched in her hands was just a tablecloth I simply did not understand. There were so many other beautiful things in the store and we had been saving those green stamps for months. And she was going to buy a tablecloth? What was so special about an ordinary tablecloth? I was confused — until we got home.
My family was poor — in material things — and we lived in what most people would refer to as a “shack”. My mother was an amazing woman who somehow managed to raise three children who never thought of themselves as deprived. Many happy times and scrumptious meals were enjoyed around our old, scratched, worn and downright ugly dining room table. That dilapidated table made the entire room ugly — until the day Mama bought the blue tablecloth. As she spread her treasure across that shabby table, an amazing thing happened. Not only did the table look beautiful, the whole room looked better!
Love is like that, its mere presence transforms the ugliness of life into a beautiful trophy of grace. Love covers the scars of sin. Love heals wounds and eases the pain of the past. We all need to be loved and we all need to love.
Jesus was and is the living illustration and certain fulfillment of His Father’s love. The love of God is unconditional, unfailing and will stubbornly pursue us no matter where we go, what we do or don’t do. God’s love satisfies the deepest longings of our soul and enables us to love ourselves and others.
Friend, across your defeats spread the hope of a tiny baby lying in a manger! Across your pain, spread the unconditional love poured out on a cruel cross! Across your doubts and fears, spread the promise of an empty tomb! The love of God covers all and changes everything.
Celebrate Him! Celebrate His love!