On Sunday, the reading was from John 10, where Jesus talked about being a shepherd and caring for his sheep, proactively loving us. So why have a text that talks about God’s deep love for us which comes before our actions?
Because most of the mothers I know are concerned about being good enough as mothers.
I have heard it from mothers who are close to death, concerned that they have not done a good enough job with their children. Children now in their sixties.
I have heard it from mothers who are just starting out, watching the commercials about being Parkview moms and then struggling with feeding and crying and juggling and exhaustion. The commercials are always in slow motion. Life never is.
We never measure up. We are never enough. We tell ourselves that. We learn those words from our parents, who themselves were struggling with measuring up.
But what if it we are loved by God?
What if God looks at us with the deep affection of a mother looking at a newborn, incapable of doing anything but breathing?
What if God looks at us with the deep affection of a mother looking at a toddler, who is combative and confused. The mother is aware that the toddler most needs simple directions and a nap. And God offers us both.
What if God looks at us with the deep affection of a mother looking at a teen, who is pushing at the edges. The mother is aware that the teen most needs steady love that is confident that the rebellion is not permanent.
And our questions will not drive God away. And our misbehavior will not cause God’s love to end. And our confusion will not cause us to be condemned. And our pain is not a sign of being abandoned. And our grief is not a lack of faith.
What if God looks at us with deep affection? Always and ever.