“…Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; …” (Jeremiah 31:3, KJV)
On my way to work one morning, I had the most startling of experiences. As I listened to a CD in my car, one of the songs that played was one we all learned in Sunday School at one time or another, “Jesus Loves Me.” Despite having sung this song perhaps several hundred times in my life, on this particular morning it was as if I was hearing it for the very first time. My attention was drawn to the profoundness of the words of the verses, and the crescendo of the chorus – “Yes, Jesus loves me / Yes, Jesus loves me / Yes, Jesus loves me / The Bible tells me so” – was so riveting that I put the CD player on repeat and listened to that one song for several days afterwards.
Jesus loves me. What a thought! The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Creator of all things, Emmanuel, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace, did in fact love me. Sure we have all heard it – God loves you – numerous times before, but suddenly I had a fuller realization of what it meant to be loved by my Heavenly Father. Yet even with that realization, I can fully appreciate that I have just only scratched the surface of coming to grips with the awesomeness of this divine love and what it meant.
In our reference text, God describes His love as “everlasting”. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines “everlasting” as “lasting forever”, but I am not fully convinced that such a definition can really put the “everlasting love” into perspective. In our every day relationships, pledges to love forever are often shattered in the face of the challenges of everyday living. Disagreements and disappointments often result in the ending of some love relationships, and people separate as a result of “irreconcilable differences”. Hearts get broken, love sometimes turns to hate, and in some cases, lives and property have been lost because despite the best of intentions, somebody’s love, that of a spouse, a parent, a family member, or a child, grew cold and eventually died. Some love seems conditional; only given providing certain conditions are met, and in some cases, love is withdrawn due to unsatisfactory changes in physical appearance. We have become so used to seeing love being made a mockery of, that some have grown very cynical of it.
Yet, in spite of the everyday cynicism, the disappointments, and brokenness, the Word of God reminds us of the unconditional and lasting nature of God’s love. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, asked “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (8:35), while John stated that “we love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). As we go through life in this mortal body, there may be times when we feel unloved; there may be times when we feel unlovable. There are times when so much is happening around us, and to us, that we are tempted to feel that even God does not care. Despite those down times, and despite what the devil would have us think, feel, or believe, it is important to know that our individual circumstances, regardless of what they are, do not change the fact that we are loved by our Heavenly Father. His loving us does not mean that He will give us everything we ask for. What it means is that by loving us, He demonstrated that love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, thus opening the door for a full, rich, and intimate relationship with our God, and the security of knowing that we have an opportunity to become heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.
As I reflected on the song that was playing in my car, I could not help but think of how difficult life is for some who name the name of Christ. Nothing about their outward circumstances would show being loved by the Creator, yet in the simplicity of the chorus, we can rest assured that Jesus loves us simply because the Bible says so. That may sound foolish to some, but we have the unadulterated assurance that though “the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: … the word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8). It is on that Word we stand, and it is in that Word that we dare to place our faith.
Having posed the question to the Romans “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”, Paul continued, “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …… Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the loved of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8:35, 37-40). That gives me a sweet chill. I am secure in the knowledge and reassurance that I am loved unconditionally, and with a love that is lasting. There is absolutely nothing that can separate me from the love of Christ. The devil can give it his best shot. He can oppress, depress, and intimidate, yet despite it all, the fact remains that Jesus loves me.
I trust that in your own way, the words of the song “Jesus Loves Me” will become real to you. My days are far much better, and my spirit that much lighter, as each morning and at various times during the day, I hear a divine whisper, “I love you”. Have you ever heard that whisper? When was the last time you heard that whisper? I would not trade those moments for anything. Would you?
“Jesus love me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.
“Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus Loves Me,
Yes, Jesus Loves Me, the Bible tells me so.”