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God’s Love For Me

By Melissa Mitchell, Children’s Ministry Director

This summer at CCF we are studying 1 Samuel.  I have long been an admirer of the prophet Samuel.  He is a person of great strength and character, and someone who truly seeks after God.  In many ways several years ago, I could relate to his mother, Hannah.  Hannah had been married for many years and longed for a child of her own.

Like Hannah, I too had been married for quite a while before having a child.  I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary just a couple months after having my first child, Anna.  Thankfully the Lord blessed us with another child just 2 years later.  And like Hannah, we named him Samuel!

If you attend CCF and are familiar with my family, you may know that my son Samuel is almost 8 years old and has Autism.  Samuel was an answer to our prayers for a child, but life is not turning out the way we might have expected.

Due to Samuel’s developmental challenges he does not do many of the things typically developing children do—the things that make a parent fill with pride and joy, the types of things that “fill your cup with love”.  There are no sports teams to cheer for, nor are there report cards filled with glowing reports, and there is not much affection:  Samuel has never hugged me, he has never kissed me or said “I love you.”

But the lack of these things does not cause me to love Samuel any less.  I do not love him for the things he does or does not do; I love him because he is my child.

Often in our relationship with God, we try to do things to earn God’s favor.  We may try to be “good enough” or to help others and to do good works.  Those are great things and they bring God joy but they don’t make God love us more.  He loves us completely just the way we are.  He loves us because we are his children.

1 John 3:1a “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I experience love and joy as a parent because of who Samuel is – he is mine, my beloved child.  It is true that he does do many sweet and adorable things that cause me to feel the typical joy that a parent often feels.  I also take pride in his accomplishments, for which he works so very hard.

But the joy is not rooted in what he does – it is rooted in who he is.  I cannot even begin to contemplate how deep and vast God’s love is for me – but being a parent to Samuel has given me a tiny glimpse.  For that I am grateful!

The Apostle Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-19 says it so well:  “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”