I grew up with a mom and dad who loved me very much. I never doubted their love, yet I don’t think I really understood the depths of that love until one very specific moment. I remember sitting on the couch with my mother, holding my precious newborn daughter. We were doing all the things you do with your newborn baby…examining her tiny little toes and fingers, rubbing her soft little head and gazing at this miracle that God had given to me. All of a sudden, an overwhelming wave of love swept over me and I was absolutely consumed with the knowledge that I would do anything to protect this tiny little bundle in my arms. I began to weep, and I looked at my sweet mother and said, “You really love me, don’t you?” All at once, as I experienced this amazing love for my new daughter, I completely understood how my mother feels about me. It was a defining moment in my life.
As I grew into my role as a mother and experienced that mother-love for the first time (and then for a second and third time as well), I began to understand something else. It was as if a veil was lifted and suddenly I could see that the all-consuming love I felt for my baby is but a dim reflection of how God feels about me. Now I grew up in church and always knew that “God so loved the world”, but this was different. This was personal…this was knowing that God looks at me the way I look at my children. He rejoices when I learn something new. He grieves when I make bad choices. He covers me with His love and protection and forgives me over and over and over again.
This weekend we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. We celebrate that Jesus has freed us from the power of sin and given us the hope of eternal life in heaven. None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for the amazing love of a Father who was willing to sacrifice his precious only son…for me. Long before I was even born, God knew that I would be. He knew the color of my hair, the shape of my face, the quirks of my personality. He loved me so much that He made a plan to save me and bring me into a relationship with Him, even though it cost Him everything. He loves me…He really loves me.
And if that isn’t overwhelming enough, then I think about Jesus. He, too, was willing to sacrifice everything—even his very life—for me. He let people beat him, curse him, mock him and nail him to a cross. Worst of all, he suffered the unimaginable pain of separation from his Father, bearing my sins so that I could be forgiven. Understanding that kind of love is a humbling experience…it brings me to my knees as I realize the depth of his love for me.
This Easter, I am grateful. I am grateful that God is not an impersonal God, but one who loves me with an all-consuming love. As we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday, my heart will be overwhelmed by the awesome and amazing love of my Savior…in the words of Charles Wesley in a beautiful old hymn “Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God should die for me?” I will marvel at the agony of the cross, the three days of despair, and finally, in the glory of the resurrection…He is risen indeed.
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