As I watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics a few weeks ago, I was mesmerized by how many countries there are in the world. Sure, there were the big names that have an athlete to represent them in almost every sport: the USA, Great Britain, China, Germany. but there were also tiny countries there that I had never heard of before: Cyprus, Comoros, &Lesotho? It was amazing to see the variety that God has created. I thought about how he LOVES each of those athletes just as personally and MUCH as he loves me.
Then, my mind flipped back to some of my small inconsequential prayers of the day. "Lord, please help my screaming baby fall asleep." "Lord, please help my daughters get along - just for 10 minutes!" "Lord, help me find my phone - I lost it again!" "Lord, please help me be patient today - and speak in kindness to my family." And guess what - I am 100% confident that the God of the universe heard those little prayers, and even more amazing - he answered many of them!
But what about all those 100s of athletes parading around the Olympic stadium? Did they have little prayers like mine? I'm sure many of them did. And probably some more important ones - like "Lord, help me win this medal that I've worked my whole life for!" And I know that my God heard those prayers and answered many of them as well.
I feel like my mind is spinning most days because I have 3 small children whose many needs need to be met (by me most of the time). Sometimes I can't even think straight, or listen to the many questions that they ask me simultaneously. However, God is SO MUCH BIGGER than me or even than I can imagine him to be. He not only created me, all the Olympic athletes, and the additional 7 billion people living on the globe, but he LOVES every one of them and is intimately aware of what is going on in their lives - their small needs and their large ones. This is true whether they are his followers or not. If they are his followers, he loves getting to hear their prayers and revealing himself to them. If they have turned their back on Him, he longs for them to return and seeks out ways to reveal himself to them. (The story of the Prodigal Son reveals this side of God to us). However, if they know nothing of Him, he desires for them to know the truth of his gospel. Not only does he KNOW what is going on, he LISTENS to their prayers, and INTERVENES in their daily life! The God of the universe! I can't wrap my head around this power.
Then my mind shifted to his LOVE. Not only does he KNOW what's going on in their lives, and CARE enough to listen to and even answer prayers, he LOVES each and every human on this planet! I don't know about you, but there are only a set number of people that I'm able to "love" at a time. But God's love is limitless!
When I had my second child, I had the common worry of "How can I possibly love another child as much as my first child? My poor second child will never be able to compete with the HUGE love that I have for my first." However, as soon as my second child Bridget was born, my heart grew in size. I immediately loved her just as much - just in a different sort of way. So when I was pregnant with my third child, I didn't worry at all about the "love" factor. I knew my heart would just grow in size to accommodate another precious child. Sure enough, my heart has grown again with the addition of Josiah. So just how big is God's love in comparison, since he has approximately 7 BILLION children! Not only that, he loves each one of them with a more perfect love than the HUGE love I have for MY children. Not only that, but he has loved every person who has ever been created since the dawn of time!
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:17-19With every birth, God's heart doesn't have to grow like a new mother's does, it is already infinitely large. I love how personal my God is. He knows me better than any human ever has or ever will. And even so, even though he knows the dirty, sinful places in my heart - he loves me so much. All I can do in return is be THANKFUL that my God is so amazing, seek to love others in the unconditional way he does, and most importantly LOVE him back. Isn't that what we desire the most from the ones we love? For their love in return? The most precious thing in my life right now is feeling my own child's love for me in response to my love for them.
Lyrics from "How Deep the Father's Love for Us"
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything,Love,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.