In formation the last two weeks, we have been studying, pondering, and sharing about the parable of the lost or prodigal son; a simple story, used by Jesus, to illustrate the depth of the Father’s love for each of us (found in Luke 15: 11-32). We spent most of our time discussing the story’s specific characters and drawing parallels between them and our own experiences. It was an interesting exercise, however the most amazing revelation for me was the subtle reminder of how full, genuine and limitless God’s love truly is.
It seems so simple, but it is so great. And the more I reflected on the depth of the Father’s goodness, different portions of my heart (that I have probably ignored for most of my life), were pried open…so here are just a few passages from Henri Nouwern’s book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, that reminded me just how great God’s love is and the promises that come with it:
- God loves us before any human person can show love to us. He loves us with a “first” love, an unlimited, unconditional love
- The Father’s love does not force itself on the beloved. Although he wants to heal us of all our inner darkness, we are still free to make our own choice to stay in the darkness, we are still free to make our own choice to stay in the darkness or to step into the light of God’s love
- God is there. God’s light is there. God’s forgiveness is there. God’s boundless love is there. What is so clear is that God is always there, always ready to give and forgive, absolutely independent of our response. God’s love does not depend on our repentance or our inner or outer changes
- God loves each child with a complete love and expresses that love according to their individual journeys. He knows them all intimately
- The Father loves with a divine love, a love that cedes to all women and men their uniqueness without ever comparing
- God’s love existed before any rejection was possible and that will still be there after all rejections have taken place
God wants so much more for us that we can imagine receiving – His love is so much deeper, fuller, and life-giving than we can ever fathom. So my prayer is to remove the restrictions I place on the Father’s love – the limits that insist I am not worthy of receiving it – and allow God to love me the way He has always promised to. Please pray for me, I am praying for you.