I remember when it really dawned on me how much my parents had done for us kids. There were four children living under one roof in our blended family, two teenage boys and two girls in elementary school. Mom would come home from work and start dinner, cooking meat and chopping vegetables in the days before microwave ovens. After the dinner dishes were washed by hand and put away, at least one night of the week, it was off to the laundromat with us girls to do the washing because we didn’t have a washer and dryer at home. That trip was a lot of work for Mom, but all I remember is sticking my hand into the opening of the popcorn machine to grab a few free pieces. Grocery shopping was done on another evening, with a very tight budget. During the holidays, mom baked cookies, fudge, and candies from old family recipes and thoughtfully purchased coveted items for us kids on that same tight budget. I remember her sitting at her sewing machine in our dining room, using scraps of fabric to make clothes for our Barbie Dolls while we played with them at her feet.
When Dad had his weekend with my sister and me, he would drive three hours to see us. We’d go to the Holiday Inn for the night and he’d empty his pockets of their loose change. We’d divvy up the loot and run to the vending machine for candy bars. Dad would sit at the park and watch us play for as long as we wanted, or take us to the zoo to see the same lions and seals that we had seen the month before. When my sister couldn’t keep her Siamese cat any longer, Dad gave her pet a new home with him rather than see her at a shelter. They weren’t perfect, but our parents really loved us.
Only Christ can love perfectly and completely, but just like our love for our parents grows as we mature and understand all that they did for us out of deep love, we can grow in our love for our Savior, Who gave the ultimate sacrifice just to be with us:
Who then can ever keep Christ’s love from us? When we have trouble or calamity, when we are hunted down or destroyed, is it because he doesn’t love us anymore? And if we are hungry or penniless or in danger or threatened with death, has God deserted us? For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us. Romans 8:35,39
No one can take away the love a parent has for their child, no matter what the child may have done. Just like an understanding parent, who sees beneath the behavior on the surface, God knows what is going on inside of us. Even when we fall short, when sin knocks and we answer, God is still there loving us, and waiting to help us change where we need to. May we grow in our love for Him as we consider all that He has done for us.