God always loves first. Without His love, there would be no death and resurrection of Jesus. Without His love, we would not be beautifully whole – because of wounds, looking for our own and looking under our own feet. Without revelation of His love, we would not be able to love Him and others (1 John 4:19). Non-beloved, we remain egoists.
That is why the Gospel is about love. That’s why everything in the Bible is about love. Because He not only loves perfectly, but He is Love (1 John 4: 8.16).
And this is how He revealed to me at the Iris Global base in Pemba, Mozambique, when I came there at the end of January 2018. It happened when I met S. He loved me there like no one else.
The three-year-old boy lives in the base and is the favorite of everyone. Because he loves. Because he jumps on me and wraps around my neck with his hands, and with his legs cling to my torso. Because he can sit on my knees the whole service. Because he does not care if I am fooling around with him like the others, or if I just give him sweet smiles and cuddle. There are people who find it extremely easy to play with children and people like me who, like in every other relationship, need time to be close and open. And S., he just loves me. Even a such. As if who is each one of us and how each of us is towards him, did not matter. Other children are not always like that. They more often respond with the openness we have towards them.
And so one evening falling asleep, I could not forget the smiling face of S. It was so bright and alive, even in front of my closed eyes. And then I realized that God was saying through this picture to me. He speaks about love that makes no difference between one man and another. He talks about love, which does not pay attention to whether someone knows or does not know what to do with that love in his direction. He speaks of a love that does not expect anything in return. Only wants to be close. The closest and as long as it can.
S. with his simple affection teaches me about Dad’s love. Love that does not need a positive appraisal to love.
Such loving deprives us of fear. The sacrifice of Jesus, which was made from perfect love, takes close to Dad God. Some little girl showed it to me one day.
She’s maybe two years old and beautiful. Bright curly hair and big blue eyes shine in Africa. Her dad lay on the gazebo floor during our weekly team meeting. She, without fear, without thinking, without one glance into his eyes, sat on her father’s belly, leaned her bright head on his knees and sipped bottle juice. She did it because she is loved. And this love deprived her of her fears. She did it, although Dad is great, and she is so tiny.
And today, like little children, loved with no conditions, we can come to the Father’s throne room and scatter their toys there. To become more like Jesus in His nearness.
I am grateful for that close, every day.