God so loved the world… John 3:16a.
I have a lot of prerogatives in my life. I call the shots on the route I take to work every day. I alone determine what I will have for lunch, if anything. Even in the classroom I am in charge of how I approach the day’s lessons.
There are, however, things I don’t get to decide. The weather is a pretty big one. What all those other cars on the road will do sometimes becomes important. But the biggest thing I don’t get to decide, that none of us gets to decide, is how God is going to love us.
Take a look at our text for today. If you could write the rest of the verse, what would you say? Would it be that God always made you rich and successful? Would it be that God always protected you and yours?
I met a new friend a few months ago who had spent a lifetime angry with God. His father died when he was a boy and that loss had driven him to enmity with God. He had determined that God did not, in fact, love him. And if not him, how could he know whether God loved anyone? And if God is not love, then maybe He is not God at all.
My new friend’s loss was real. It still is. But one thing none of us gets to decide is how God will love us. The guaranty of His affection for us is in the remainder of the verse – “He gave His only son.” That may not have been what any of us would have supplied to close that verse, but it is the truth the Lord wrote on the world.
And it should comfort us. Whatever the Lord allows in your life, whatever struggles you face, know that God loves you with an “only son sacrificing kind of love”. You may not always understand it, or like it, but the love of God is bigger than what any of us understand or appreciate.