He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
-- Isaiah 40:11
-- Isaiah 40:11
What’s your love language?
According to relationship expert and counselor Gary Chapman, husbands and wives show their love for one another in distinct ways. Some show it through words of affirmation or acts of service while others speak it through physical touch or quality time. And not surprisingly, another popular marital love language involves giving or receiving gifts.
We learn through the Bible that God also shows His love in several different ways. Think about the famous story of the Prodigal Son, where the loving father welcomes back his wayward – and totally undeserving – child with open arms. Or what about the shepherd who searches tirelessly for a single missing sheep? When he finally finds it, he returns it triumphantly to the rest of the flock.
Jesus also paints this remarkable word-portrait of love, which the agrarian people of His day would have recognized immediately:
“I am the good shepherd,” Christ tells us in the Gospel of John. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Jesus also told His disciples about the man who sells all his possessions to buy a field. But not just any ordinary field, but one holding buried treasure. The cost to buy the land was staggering, but the man does whatever it takes to gain the prize.
And that’s how God loves us. He’ll go to any lengths to bring you and me into His family. Perhaps the most famous passage in the New Testament (John 3:16) tells us that God loves the world so much that He gave His only Son (Jesus) so that those who believe in Him will have eternal life. God willingly let Jesus suffer and die to pay for all our wrongdoings -- past, present and future. We rightfully deserve death because of how we’ve lived our lives. But God’s love offers us joy and happiness if we’re only willing to accept it. By living on Earth among everyday people and then dying for our sins, Jesus has already paid the ultimate price.
Yes, the limits of human vocabularies keep us from fully describing the meaning and implications of how God cherishes His children. We can only skim the surface of this deep and vast ocean. But maybe it’s really not that difficult. After all, it takes only three simple words from the Book of 1 John to sum up the Creator’s love language:
God is Love.