There’s this great song by Jessie Ware called Say You Love Me. It’s a kind of song that’s good for late night drives and holding the hand of someone who doesn’t care how terrible your singing voice is, because believe me, I sing it loud. (Warning the music video is terrible, don’t watch, just listen). But last night as I stood on the front row of a worship set I found my heart saying this same thing to Jesus.
I heard these words, not just coming from the band on stage but coming from my father as He whispered into my ear, “My love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on you.” I thought I was getting it, receiving it, embracing that truth. But then why was Jessie Ware still somewhere in the back of my head saying, no, Say you love me.
Yes my mind was fleeting in between verses on where I had fallen the week before. Even the 24 hours before that moment were full of reasons why this shouldn’t be true. But even yet, I thought I was receiving it.
And I was, but I was receiving it like a child receives love from earthly parents.
Don’t get me wrong-parents are (most of the time) awesome. But it is fatal to our view of God when we try to focus on him through a lens of anything other than himself. His role as Abba Daddy in our lives is wholly good, creator good, sovereign for His ultimate glory good. When we forget this though, our perception of who He is and how His love operates in our lives becomes muddied.
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
He knew that our perception of who God is dictates everything we do. Think. Receive.
It can get messy when put Him on an earthly plain of parenthood. We can see why in any family really. Picture average parents, a few kids. He’s balding a little, she snaps back more often these days, but generally aren’t too bad to have around. They’ve got a few kids, the oldest is brilliant. He’s definitely got his life in order, and is killing it at college. The middle child is well, a middle child (kidding). But really, he isn’t anything special, stays out of trouble, will probably land a middle class job in the burbs, and his parents are fine with that. The baby now, baby girl, she’s something. She’s passionate and wild. Not rebellious but adventurous. But in their eyes she rocks the boat. She’s the “trouble maker” as some would call her. She’s hit a few bumps in the road, but every time she does her parents reassure here “We still love you.” And she receives that, just like I was receiving it from Jesus.
The problem with this is, they do love her. But that doesn’t mean they are expected anything great out of her anytime soon. Her big brother is definitely the champion of accolades. He’s the one they talk about at dinner parties. Even her other brother gets props for being easy to deal with. But not her. Because well, her track record just isn’t that great. Of course they love her. She’s their child. But this isn’t how Jesus loves us, no.
Jesus loves us with life-giving love.
Even (read: especially) when we bear our screw-ups, confess our shame. When we look around and can’t even see a hill to climb to beyond the mess we’ve made, He says, “I still love you.” AND “I have great things for you.” GREAT.
His love is constant in our lives, and His love is synonymous with the life that He gave us through His death. Life. When something, anything is alive it grows. It bears fruit. And our brokenness does not negate the fruit and plans for fruit-bearing in our lives- in fact, when reconciled to Him can bear immeasurably more.
When you’re sure you don’t deserve greatness after the fall, He still says it.
I still love you. Period. I didn’t back up to erase the great things I have scripted on your life. I am love. And I always remain.