By Maria Fontaine
These are a few of the words that come to mind when I think about Jesus’ love for each of us: Perfect. Free. Unconditional. Everlasting.
His love is perfect. It is the only thing in the world that is absolutely perfect. There are a lot of things that are nice, beautiful, and wonderful, but nothing is perfect like His love. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect humans, in imperfect conditions, but His love is what makes it possible for us to weather everything that life brings our way. He is perfect, and so is His love.
His love is free. It’s not something that we have to work for, or earn, or somehow prove that we’re worthy of. That’s a good thing, too, because we all sin and make mistakes. If we had to earn Jesus’ love, none of us would have it, because we’re all men and women of similar weaknesses and human frailties. Jesus, in His divine foresight and wisdom, knew this and chose to love us with no strings attached.
His love is everlasting. It’s not something that will be here one day and gone the next. Jesus’ love will not expire or fade. It can’t be stolen or forfeited. It doesn’t get old with the times or go out of style. It’s traditional and historic, but also modern and current. It’s always. Even before we knew Him, He loved us. He has loved us from the very beginning of time, and He will love us throughout eternity.
He doesn’t just love us when we’re happy, progressing in the school of life, or making a positive difference in the lives of others. He loves us when we’re up and when we’re down. He loves us when we’re well and when we’re sick. He loves us when we do things worthy of His praise and even when we do things that sadden Him.
It helps to remind ourselves of the dimensions of His love, and that He doesn’t only love us through the good times. The way Jesus works in our lives and the way He chooses to do things is often past our comprehension. It’s mysterious and usually takes faith and patience, because His timetable is often different from ours. Living the Christian life requires faith and trust, because we’re not the ones in control—Jesus is. We have to remind ourselves constantly that He knows best, that He does all things well, and that His priorities are often different and much more long-term and “big picture” than ours.
Even with all of His awesome promises—promises like, “Whatever you ask the Father in My name, He [will] give you,” (John 15:16) “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” (Matthew 7:7) and “If you have faith, nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20)—we have to remember that we can do our part, but we’re not the ones calling the shots. We’re not the ones with the bird’s-eye view of the past, present, future, and master plan for eternity. We can put Jesus on the spot and we can harness all the spiritual power He has put at our fingertips, but ultimately it is His will that must be done. Jesus is in control, and He knows best.
It’s so important to keep an attitude of simple trust in Him and His perfect love, as otherwise we can struggle with so many questions when things don’t turn out the way we were hoping or the way we prayed they would.
There is so much in the Bible on this topic, as well as throughout the writings of men and women of faith from the past 2,000 years. Every now and then it’s good to stop and reflect on the various reasons why Jesus works the way He does, why things don’t always turn out the way we’d like, why every prayer isn’t answered in the manner we had hoped, and why life is sometimes harder than we think it should be.
If you don’t strengthen your faith, life can seem pretty hard for no good reason. When that happens, you can start to feel that it’s your fault, that you must be doing something wrong, that Jesus must be displeased with you because He isn’t answering your every prayer as you want Him to, or that maybe the promises He’s given don’t actually work “as advertised.”
But the more you study God’s Word, the more your faith will grow. (Romans 10:17) In time you will find many wonderful promises and explanations that answer age-old questions such as why it seems as if God doesn’t always answer prayer. But the fact is that life, with all the difficulties and trials and times when prayers seemingly go unanswered, will continue to be a test of faith. It will always be so until we get to Heaven.
Whenever things are rough, whenever you feel that they’re not turning out the way you’d hoped, when you feel your prayers aren’t being answered, when the trials of life are a little too much to bear, when the battle seems too long, when your faith is under attack, when you’re feeling weary and aren’t sure if you can take much more, climb up onto the rock-solid foundation God has provided for your faith through His many promises and encouraging words, and rest in that safe haven.
Take comfort, also, in the fact that this battle isn’t uniquely yours. It’s one that every Christian throughout time has had to reckon with, and the answer is the same today as it has ever been—trust in God and His wonderful ways. You can’t figure it all out. Instead, encourage yourself in the Word and relax in the comfort of knowing that Jesus has everything in His hands. Rest in Jesus’ arms, let Him shield you and support you, and in God’s time the storm will pass.
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