“I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, `How have You loved us?’ Malachi . 1:2
I’ve heard this exchange before – this banter between people in relationships. Have you? Expressions of love are met with contempt. “Love me? Oh yeah, right. How have you loved me?” The question is thousands of years old. Someone feels that love hasn’t been adequately proven. Perhaps it really was woefully imperfect though sometimes, it’s entitlement that causes someone to believe that love should have been defined differently. If the one who is accused sets out to re-prove it, the hoops they have to jump through can be endless.
I’ve heard it said that the reason Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden wasn’t because of pride. It was ingratitude. They felt entitled to the only tree God declared “forbidden.” They defined the boundaries of love and expected God to cooperate.
If all God ever did for me was to respond to my plight of eternal condemnation by sending Jesus to die, would that not be enough? Would I dare to infer that being spared eternally from hell is a small thing? Do I really feel entitled to more? Does it make sense to sneer at God when I don’t believes He loves me like I think He should? What if my health fails or my business is near to collapse? Does God owe me miracles to make it everything right again?
He offers forgiveness from sins that would destroy me if it weren’t for His pardon and cleansing. He offers grace when I run out of coping mechanisms. He extends mercy when judgement would be warranted. He invites me to be joined to Him forever, puts His robe around my shoulders, and offers me the gift of companionship for my life here. Can I be justified in my expectations of more? Surely the gift of His Son’s blood has proven His love adequate.
Every time I’m loved by family and friends, it is an added blessing. When I wake up with energy and have a love for the work He has called me to, it is an added blessing. To share Spirit-talk with friends and find that I am moved by their affection for Jesus and for me, this is an added blessing.
Today, God says, “I love you.” May my answer be, regardless of the circumstances, “I know that well.”
I never have cause to accuse You. Forgive me when I have. Amen