1 John 4
A woman knelt by her bed to declare her love for God. She was very thankful for all her many blessings and after a short prayer of praise was ready to rise to meet the day. However, the Lord had a question for her. If all this was taken away from you, would My love be enough?
For those of us blessed to have a love-relationship with God, that question bears some consideration. What expectations do we have? What comprises a love relationship? Is our love for God based on our feelings or on our blessings, or does it emanate from respect and trust, knowledge and truth?
The Apostle John had a unique relationship with the Lord Jesus. He was one of the inner circle, one of three disciples who were chosen to be with Jesus on a couple of significant occasions. The last one was when Jesus asked John and James and Peter to watch with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. He claimed to be the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23).
Years later John wrote about love in a short letter written to his “little children” (2:1,18), children in the faith. He knew all too well how weak human love is. His had failed Jesus in the desperation of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:40, 43). His frail humanity took over and he fell asleep just when Jesus needed him most. When we claim to love God would we be ready, willing and able to watch with Him one hour?
The interesting thing about John’s understanding of love is his discovery that real love exists within the Godhead. “We know and rely on the love God has for us ”because God is love”. It is the very essence of His being. Our love is acquired, learned. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:16. 19).
The question prompted by the Holy Spirit and faced by the woman in her devotions asked if she believed her love for God was impacted by circumstance or character. Is God’s love enough for any situation? We have a great Biblical example in the life of Job. Wealth and health were taken away; he even lost his family. Left to scrape his boils with a broken piece of a clay pot, what did Job know about God? He had a support network that was useless. His wife urged him to “Curse God and die” (1:9). One of his friends questioned the purity of his heart (8:6). Another suggested that if he put away his sin there would be hope (11:14,18).
It’s no wonder Job was seen as blameless before God (Job 1:1)! His answers to his friends indicated complete trust. “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (Job 13:15). He prayed with hope “My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; You [God] will cover over my sin” (Job 14:17). His faith was secure in the knowledge that “my Redeemer lives…that in the end…. I will see God….with my own eyes…..How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27). Isn’t that heart-yearning born out of the security Job knew in his relationship with God?
When everything was stripped away, this wealthy man found the love of God was enough to meet the adversity of his circumstances. “You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit” (Job 10:12). At the moment of writing, our world is in a global crisis with the pandemic of COVID-19. Many of those everyday comforts we take so much for granted have been stripped away. It is fascinating to see the differing responses to what God has allowed in our world today. What is your response? Do we question God’s love? Do we trust His plan to work all things for our good? (Romans 8:28).