By Curtis K. Shelburne
God loves his children so completely that he could not possibly love us more and he will never choose to love us less. We are absolutely secure in that love. Why is that so hard for us to believe?
It’s as if we were an orphan in 18th century England who has been bought out of the poorhouse, taken out of the sweatshop, by the kindest gentleman in the world.
We’ve traded our rags for the finest clothes and our swill for the finest food. We’re almost afraid to close our eyes at night for fear that we’ll wake up and find that our redemption from poverty has all been a dream.
We see all the luxuries and privileges that go with what the kind gentleman says is our new position, but it just seems too good to be true. And there are many tell-tale signs that we really don’t even believe it yet ourselves.
We sleep on the floor and not in the bed. Surely that bed is too good, too soft, too plush for gutter snipes like us. But still the kind gentleman urges us to take up our place in the household — to eat his food, ride his horses, sleep in that beautiful bed, read his books, listen to his music, walk in his gardens, and he tells us that as the adopted son in this household and estate, all of these things are not just his, they are ours.
We can hardly believe it! We begin to try to think of ways we can earn our keep, but nothing we could do would ever even begin to be enough.
Slowly, though, the gift of sheer mercy and grace and love begins to work its way quietly and deeply in our souls. And we awake one morning to realize that the kind gentleman has sometime in the night lifted us from the floor where we were lying and placed us in the soft bed that he calls ours. We awaken to feel him gently stroking our hair, and looking at us with eyes so full of love, more beautiful than the song of the birds in the garden just outside our window, softer with love than even the thickest down comforter, warmer than the morning sun streaming through the open windows.
Just as we’re starting to try to open our eyes, we hear him say quietly, “I love you, son.” And as we look sleepily but peacefully into his face, we’re almost surprised to hear our own little voice say, “Father.”
And suddenly we realize that, though we could never in a lifetime of lifetimes earn the gifts that he has given, we have just given him the only gift we could ever really give, the gift that means more than life itself to this one who has given us new life. We have given him our love.
And though we’ve always felt grateful to him, now since that bright morning, our gratitude is deeper, richer, and more filled with joy, and whenever we eat his food, and ride his horses, and walk in his gardens, we know more deeply than ever before how truly they express to us his love and that every glimmer of love and joy and laughter in our lives lights up his heart with joy.
For he loves us so completely that he could not possibly love us more and he will never choose to love us less, and we are absolutely secure in his love.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at