So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. v. 16
Because we live in God and God lives in us, as we saw in v. 15, we know and believe the love that God has for us.
Know means that we perceive His love. Better yet, we are coming to know His love—little by little—as we experience it. The more we know His love, the better we can believe in that love. Have you ever had trouble believing that someone loves you just the way you are? And if that person patiently shows you love, don’t you little by little learn to trust in that love? When we believe in something, we know we can rely upon it. It’s like when we lean against a wall, and we know it will support us. (This is especially important for those of us with vertigo.)
My favorite meaning for believe is to glue ourselves to. When someone loves us without holding back, we want to stick to that person. We want to be connected to them. The same thing happens with our relationship with God when we learn to trust in His love for us.
Even the phrase—the love God has for us—has a meaning we can treasure. Literally, it means “the love God cherishes for us.” The picture is of a mother holding her child tenderly and looking down at her with love. This is how God feels about the love He has for us. He cherishes it.
It is written in a tense that means that He holds this love as His cherished possession forever. It does not depend on what we do or don’t do. He will never stop loving us no matter what!
God is love. Have you ever thought about those three words? I mean we might say, “So and so is very loving.” And when we say it, we are giving high praise. But we would never say, “So and so IS love.” because we know that nobody is perfect in the way that they love.
But God. Don’t you love those words? But God. But God IS love. God’s kind of love is agape love. Agape is a Greek word that means divine love, love that does what is best for someone without one single expectation of return.
When I try to show that kind of love toward Mike even just for one whole day I know I fail miserably. Do I always have his best interests at heart? No. His best interests get mixed in with my best interests and even the best interests of others. Do I function without expectation? No. Even though I know that’s the healthiest way to be, I always seem to be loaded with expectations for him that color everything I think and do.
I find myself saying things like, “Can’t you just talk to me about this? Can’t you just tell me how this makes you feel?” I want him to show that he understands me. I want…I want.
But God. God loves us in the way that is best for us every minute of every hour of every day—forever. Can I even begin to understand this? Absolutely not. Can I learn to trust it? Absolutely yes.