One of the things I had really struggled with was God’s love for me. I believed that God’s love was conditional and dependent on my actions, and since I believed my actions were not pleasing to God, I believed God didn’t love me.
How could He love me? After everything I had done. As an awful sinner, making many mistakes, the concept of God’s unconditional love was not something I could easily relate to.
One day, I was at home looking after my daughter. We sat down on the sofa to watch telly, and after a few episodes of her favourite show, she asked for some cereal. I don’t like any of the kids eating in the front room, so I asked her to come with me to the dining.
She started crying because she wanted to eat and watch telly. She promised to eat on the table and not make a mess. I was not having it. I had just cleaned the house, and I was tired, but she whined, begged, and promised, and so I gave in. (No Judgement please)
I said she could have her cereal, but she had to have it on a tray, just in case it spilled. It seemed like a good compromise until she got excited and started dancing around.
I told her a few times to sit down and eat quietly as promised, but she only listened for a few seconds and carried on her dancing with the cereal spoon in her hand, pausing only to feed herself and carry on dancing.
As anticipated, she twirled the wrong way, hit the tray, and dropped a whole bowl of milky cereal on the floor. It played out in my head, just like I had imagined it before I initially said NO.
It was such a big mess. I was furious. I wanted to scream. The carpet was covered with milk, and there was cereal everywhere. It really upset me for few reasons –
- Because I knew it would happen
- Because I let it happen
- I don’t have the time or energy to clean this mess
She stood there looking at me shocked and afraid, she was only 4 years old. Can I be honest and say I shouted “get into the kitchen now. No more food in front of the telly” or something along those lines anyway.
With so much unexpressed anger, I got down on my hands and knees to clean, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Do you still love her?” It sounded like a silly question to me. Of course I still loved her.
Yes I was angry about it, but that didn’t change the way I felt about her; I am not going to hate my child just because she made a mistake. I actually laughed at the thought of it; it just seemed so ridiculous to me.
Then the Holy Spirit said, “So why do you think I don’t love you even when you make mistakes?” And in that moment, on my hands and knees, on a carpet covered with cereal and milk, I got it. I just got it.
I understood the unconditional love of my Father God. My daughter’s actions did not change the way I felt about her. I was angry, but even in that, I carried out my duty as a mother to ensure that I cleaned up her mess and that her surrounding was clean and safe.
I also ensured that she ate (albeit on the dining table this time). God showed me in that situation that He, too, was there to clean up after me and His love was not at all dependent on what I did – it is an unconditional love.
He used what should have been an upsetting situation to teach me a foundational truth. I became very grateful for the spilled cereal. I went and gave her a kiss and just loved her even more.
The words in Jeremiah 31:3 rings so true in my heart: “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.’”
God’s love for us all is an everlasting love. It is unconditional and unchanging. His love is here to stay. No matter what you’ve done, no matter what mistakes you make. He will never stop loving you.