There is nothing like a newborn baby that can create a glimpse of the way that God loves. I began pondering this when Leslie was born. And I am seeing it replay all over again with the birth of my grandson, Maverick.
Watching my baby loving her baby has brought back a surge of emotions and memories. Before her baby was even born, Leslie experienced the pains that accompany every woman's pregnancy. Babies kick and squirm in a small, enclosed environment of a mom's body. They seem to practice tap dancing when you are trying your best to sleep. He (or she) distorts your body and causes your body to respond in many unpleasant, not to be mentioned ways. I remember...though the memory has softened. Painful but you hold on to the promise of a new family.
When Leslie thought that she couldn't take pregnancy for one more second, her sweet baby boy made his loud entry into the world. Watching her in the delivery room brought tears to my eyes. More pain.
Little Maverick is now two months old and his dad says that he never realized you could go that long without sleep. Little do they know that they will never sleep soundly again.
That precious little bundle of joy can be demanding and impatient. He cries to be fed immediately and it won't be long before he will wail for attention and demand his way be done. But, oh, the joy he brings! I watch Travis and Leslie stare at his every movement. They talk a new language, in a tone reserved only for their adored son. They can't wait for him to wake up from his nap so they can play with him again.
I see both Leslie and Travis overwhelmed with a sense of protectiveness. Hand sanitizer, baby monitors of every kind, pediatrician visits - anything and everything to assure that their baby is safe. I remember coming home from the hospital many years ago and the realization hitting me that my precious baby was exposed to all kinds of dangers. And it was entirely up to her dad and me to guard her. Thinking, "Really? That's the plan?"
For a very long time, babies give nothing in return for all of your sleepless nights and attentive nurturing. But Maverick gave the first glimmer of a responsive smile at about six weeks and everyone began to perform and beg for another. Just a glimmer of response, a hope of connection, a desire for him to be happy.
Yet in spite of all of the pain, sleepless nights, necessary feedings and diaper changes, constant need for attentiveness … you love your baby. He gives absolutely nothing to you but he's yours. And you love him with an immeasurable love.
Scripture declares that God loves us with a never ending, faithful, unconditional love. We fall short of that kind of perfect love. In fact, I think loving our babies is the closest we can come to grasping the way that He loves. God created us and loved us from the beginning. He made plans for us from the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13-16) - good plans, plans that are not meant to harm us but meant to give us a full life.
As the created, we demanded from our Creator. We treated God without regard. But...He gave. He gave more than we can even fathom. "God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
God protects. He guides. He teaches. And yes, He disciplines when necessary. All because of His great love. We did that for Leslie. She and Travis will do the same for Maverick.
We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). It is His love that shows us how to love. Love is more than a feeling, even though it certainly can arouse emotions. It is an action. It is demonstrative. 1 John 3:16 says, "This is how we now what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." John 3:18 continues, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions in truth." Saying "eat" to a baby, does not feed him. It would not be an example of love. Action is required.
Through a parent's eyes, there is nothing like a baby to show you that love is truly patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails! (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
And since Scripture declares that God is love (1 John 4:8), we can be assured that God is patient and kind. God does not envy or boast. He is not proud, rude or self-seeking. He is not easily angered and keeps no record of our wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects. Always trusts. Always hopes. And always perseveres.
God will never fail!