God is Love.
Such a simple statement yet the most powerful of all statements. God loves us for ourselves and not for anything we can do or give Him. We cannot cause God to love us more, or less, than He already does. Yet we live in a performance-based culture, causing us to think we need to earn God’s love.
The story of the prodigal son is one of my favorite stories in the gospels. Three persons are highlighted in this story:
- The younger son, who the father restores all the rights of sonship, so that he loses nothing.
- The older brother, who had remained faithfully with his father, had a problem with the grace extended. Sometimes we can be just like the older brother – stuck and smug in our self righteousness, forgetting out God is gracious to all.
- The father who extends forgiveness, grace, and love in spite of all he had experienced.
In my life, I have been the prodigal, the one in need of God’s forgiveness and grace. I have also been the older son – wanting to begrudge God’s grace and celebration of another. And I have been like the father, having to embrace and forgive and restore position to another. Maybe that is why I love this story so much. We can see ourselves in the story and recognize the depth of God’s love and mercy and grace in our own lives.
I read the words on the page: “Legalism Limits; Love Compels” (from page 107 of The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith).
As he suggests in that chapter, I turn to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. In light of the story of the prodigal, I read verse 7 several times:
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
The word “endures” speaks to me.
Endures, according to dictionary.com, means “to continue to exist; to hold out without any impairment.”
God’s love lasts – it has stood the test of time. He has loved all people for all time. His love has not diminished, increased, or ceased. His love has and will remain stable and consistent throughout the ages.
The word ‘endures’ brings to mind the repetitive words of Psalm 136. All 26 verses in that chapter end with the words “His love endures forever”. God knows we need reminding and repetition.
God’s love toward his saints is higher, deeper, wider, and longer than anyone can comprehend. Throughout all the ages to come, God’s covenant love for his people, like a mighty river, will be flowing as strong in eternity future as when it first began in eternity past. This is the awe-inspiring wonder of being the special object of his everlasting love.
(from The Holman Old Testament Commentary, Volume 12, page 320)
May we remember today,
God’s love endures forever.