February is the month of love. According to the Bible what does God love?
Jan Karon is one of my favorite authors. Her series of books set in the fictional Appalachian town of Mitford take the reader back to an easier, relaxed lifestyle that touches on all things familiar by characters so unique, you can’t let them go. The books span the golden years of an Episcopalian priest named Father Tim and his vivacious, life-loving, children’s book author of a wife, Cynthia.
Part of Karon’s ability to make her characters memorable is the predicable catch phrases and repeated conversations sprinkled throughout the series. We identify with that because behind the closed doors of our family units, we all have our pet words and code phrases known only to us and those closest to us. Cynthia is always telling Father Tim and us what she loves and he always responds with, “What don’t you love?”
Here’s one of those delicious conversations from karon’s book, “Light From Heaven:”
“I’m taking you to see a sunset.”
“I love sunsets.”
“. . . in the pickup truck.”
She pulled on her fleece jacket with the hood. “I love pickup trucks.”
He laughed. “What don’t you love, Kavanaugh?”
“Twenty-five-watt bulbs in reading lamps, cats that throw up on the rug after devouring a mouse, age spots. . . .”
Ah! I love Jan Karon’s writing. Don’t ask me what I don’t love. I’m not as creative as Cynthia.
On Valentine’s Day, my preacher-creature-husband shared a list with our congregation of what God loves. The list surprised me.
What does God love?
- Deuteronomy 23:5: “The Lord your God loves you.”
- 2 Corinthians 9:7: “God loves a cheerful giver.”
- Psalm 33:5: “The Lord loves righteousness and justice.”
- Psalm 37:28: “The Lord loves the just.”
- Ps 86:5 – You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you.
- Proverbs 15:9: “The Lord loves those who pursue righteousness.”
- Proverbs 3:12: “The Lord disciplines those He loves.”
- Is 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
- John 3:16: “God so loved the world. . . “
- John 14:21: “The one who loves me will be loved by my Father.”
- Rom 5:8 – God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
As my husband read the list which he admitted was a partial list, I was impressed with not what God loves but who God loves. God loves His people. God loves the righteous. God loves those who love Him. God love me. God loves you.
Father Tim often ends written notes with, “In Him who loved us first.” He got that straight from 1 John 4:19. God loved me even before I imagined what love was like. God loved me even while my rebellious back stared Him in the face (Romans 5:8).
It makes me think of a song I’ve been teaching a little girl I babysit every Wednesday:
1,2,3. Jesus loves me.
1,2. Jesus loves you.
2,3,4. He loves you more.
Than you’ve ever been loved before.
Or, as we used to tell our girls when they were little:
“Mommy loves you.
Daddy loves you.
But Jesus loves you most of all.”
He does. He really does. More than I can ever begin to imagine. If I ever feel unloved, my feelings are 180 degree, dead as a doornail wrong. God loves me with the best kind of love more than anyone else can possibly begin to love me.
Father Tim and Cynthia have the toughest time penetrating through the hard shell of their adopted son, Dooley. Finally, Dooley is able to say, “I love you.” I love Father Tim’s response:
“I love you back.” And then Father Tim lavishes on the love some more.
Jesus, I love you.