While traveling from North Carolina to St. Louis, I was seated on an airplane next to a nice young man who was on his way to Colorado Springs. Polite conversation led from, “Hello, my name is ---” to “would you like to see a photo of my son?” He reached into his back pocket, brought forth his wallet, opened it to the first picture, and proudly displayed the photo of his three-year-old son. Divorced from his son’s mother, his opportunities to spend time with the boy were restricted; but his love and affection for the child seemed to be without limitation.
We talked about the task of parenting, benefits of loving and being loved, and changes that occur once one becomes a parent. He commented upon the depth of love that he had discovered upon the birth of his son. And, even though he was only in his early twenties, he realized that the responsibility of another human being, his son, rested upon him.
After we deplaned and parted, I couldn’t erase the conversation from my thoughts, his dancing eyes from my mental images, or his sincere words from my ears. If this kind of genuine love could flow from one not far from being a boy himself, how much purer is the love which flows from the heart of our heavenly Father unto his children on earth. The Bible tells us that God is love (I John 4:8); but that reality seldom arrests our attention, at least not to the degree to which my attention had been arrested that day.
God has fashioned and created mankind with the capacity to give and receive love. As a matter of fact, all people actually need love. If this were not true, so many of our activities and actions would not be directed toward social acceptance, romance, and family ties. Psychologists, therapists, social workers, (not to mention grandparents) herald the virtues of raising a child in an environment soaked with love and acceptance.
Being the object of unconditional, unbounded love produces within the love’s recipient a sense of self worth and well being that cannot be found elsewhere. Once we acknowledge our basic need for love, it is not a distant or far step to also acknowledge our need for the love of God, who reveals himself as our Father.
If fallible and frail human love is so powerful, imagine the impact of God’s unfailing love upon the soul of a man. No, don’t just imagine it. Experience it!