The magnitude of His love moves me in a deep place–more than I can understand.
Watching her young son tackle the monkey bars with a parent's tender and unconditional love, Shawnelle Eliasen is moved to realize how lavish and deep is God's love for us:
“Watch me, Mom,” eight-year-old Isaiah called. I looked up from weeding flower beds to see my son dangling from our time-worn playset. He was attempting the monkey bars that stretched from one side of the structure to the other.
“I can do it,” he said. “I’ve been practicing.”
I leaned back on my heels and pulled off garden gloves as Isaiah let go of the bar with one hand and reached for the next. His fingers curled around metal and a smile of triumph settled on his face.
“That’s one,” he said.
One down. Seven to go.
Some of my boys’ friends have the ability to master the monkey bars with a glide and grace. Swoop and swing. Down the line. With my boys it’s been mechanical. A concentrated effort. More of a lurch and grab.
It can be painful to watch.
“You can do it,” I called. “You’re doing great.”
Isaiah’s fingers uncurled and the security of the bar was no longer in his grasp. Hanging by one-hand, he swung his legs and caught the next bar.
“Hoorah,” I called. He looked my way. Grinned. And hit the dusty ground.
“I’ll try again,” Isaiah said. He brushed dirt from his backside, examined his tender palms for fresh bubbles of blisters, and started up the ladder again. And as he reached for the bar, trying with the strength and might that makes a little boy a breathtaking work, I was overwhelmed with tenderness. Tenderness that made my heart feel like it could swell out of my chest. Tenderness that was rich with hopes, dreams, compassion and desires.
A love both gentle and fierce and as it is simple and complex.
It made me think about God’s love for us.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (I John 3:1, ESV)
The magnitude of it moves me in a deep place–this lavished love that’s more than I can understand. I love my children with all that I have. All that I am. But I have a human spirit. It’s tainted and flawed and is limited by human capacity. But God’s love? It’s pure. Unblemished. Infinite.
I am a child of God.
“Here I go, Mom,” Isaiah called.
He looked my way and stretched his body to grasp the first rung. His feet left the ladder and the drive of determination was fresh again. I cheered him on, wanting him to make it to the end but knowing that a parent’s love isn’t conditional or performance based.
It just is.
Strong and powerful and set-apart in its rare, unique, beautiful form.
Just like God’s kind of love.