Abba, Father

It all gets a bit messy when our life experiences tell us, That kind of love—perfect love—it doesn’t exist.

It does exist, and it’s not just words on a page or theology in a book. It’s far more and far greater than that. Those who experienced it wrote about it to provide a scriptural reference point so we could know that when God’s love overtakes us, it is real and true. Our hearts are thus reassured that such love exists.

Paul says in Romans 15:13,

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.

Oh, to hope again!

It is very far from “irrelevant” or “uneventful.” The Father’s love has a tangible effect. If you haven’t been hit by it lately, overrun with his love, then it’s time. If you haven’t felt the goose bumps, been warm all over, experienced a cool chill, or felt a flood of joy filling you up, warming you, taking you to a place—if you haven’t felt giddy—then it’s time!

The question is, do you see it? In Romans 8, Paul says we can be certain that “every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good” (verse 28 MSG). A few verses later Paul concludes the chapter with:

I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (verses. 38–39)

My friend Scott experiences the love of the Father when God speaks to him in music, license plates, and ads in the newspaper (to mention just a few of the ways). Scott and I have a couple of worship songs we really like, and you wouldn’t believe how often Pandora or Sirius or XM radio play them when we are together. Call it coincidence, but Scott and I know better. These are love notes from our Father right to our hearts.

Ashley believes God made butterflies for her. Kelly sees God in baseball. Travis encounters God’s love in every hunt he goes on. David sees the Father in the houses he restores. My wife, Robin, feels his love when the clock turns to 11:11. She will say to me, “Look, Jesus loves me”; it’s something special just between him and her.

Shouldn’t every love affair have something that’s just between two hearts?

It starts and ends with the Father’s love. He loved us first and he loves us most; he is the author and perfecter of our faith, and that faith is based on love.

Walking along the beach a few weeks ago, Robin and I strolled past hundreds of thousands of seashells, most of them broken. One shell among the masses caught my eye. There it was, looking up at me, the size of a quarter and the perfect shape of a heart! What are the odds? You can’t tell me the Father wasn’t saying to the Son, “Watch this, watch our boy Michael! Wait for it, wait for it . . . there! I knew he would find it.”

There is a Life the Father is imparting and bestowing to all his sons and daughters. It is a life of love and of training in love. Through ceremonies of validation and initiation, trials and errors, redoes and redeems, playgrounds and battlefields ALL invite us to engage. The Father’s love delivers Life to our hearts and then gives us the packages we can deliver to the hearts of others. Nothing can separate us from the Father’s love. Nothing. And yet, there are things that can and do get in the way.

In your time alone with God:

How do you experience His love?

What is a particular thing or way God says or shows your heart, “I see you and I love you, here is something I got just for you.”?

Is life happening to you or is Life happening for you?

Ask God, “What is in the way of my receiving your Love and Life?” then be still, quiet and listen.