God’s invitational love is totally unconditional. It is the most inclusive love that has ever existed. He offers his love to people of all races, generations, beliefs, social standing, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing factor.
Your child has been missing for 8 months. And still you look for him at the gate, every moment of every day. With each knock at the door, each buzz on your phone, your heart stops. Is that news? Has he been found?
Your friends, your neighbours, your family, even the police, warn you to expect the worst. Still you wait. Still you hope. You long for your son with an unbearable longing.
Love, pure love and, when it comes down to it, heart-sickening love is never more intense than when the one you love is missing from you. Maybe never again to be with you. What parents go through in such situations is unimaginable.
Take that pain and multiply it by a gazillion. Maybe then you might touch the surface of the unfathomably profound longing God has for you.
He has been called ‘the Hound of Heaven’ whose passionate pursuit of you is incessant. The ‘Furious Longing’ deeply desiring you, like the waves of a raging storm relentlessly beating against the rock of your resistance.
Stronger than the love of the most ardent lover. Purer than the love of the most devoted parent. More zealous than the most passionate paramour.
Jerusalem, O Jerusalem how often I would have gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks.
I died for you with my arms outstretched. Can you not feel my love reaching out to you?
Child of my love, I long for you with intense longing.
Can you not see it’s me your heart truly longs for?
Sons of Adam, where are you? Daughters of Eve, what has happened to you?
Come back home!
I’ve made everything ready for you.
God loves you more than any lover, more than a mother, a father or a brother, and more than your closest friend. But he is not dependent on you. There is no weakness in him and nothing lacking in him. He loves you because he loves you, not because he needs to. And he will never force his love on you.
Sin breaks relationship with God. But he has gone to infinite pains to open the way back. The most famous verse in the Bible says,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life! (John 3:16).
Jesus’ death was not merely an example to follow, or a martyrdom to marvel at. Much more than a personal statement, it was the ultimate expression of unconditional love.
However, a holy God, no matter how much he longs for humanity, cannot deny his own righteousness. To bring us back to him, a price had to be paid that would satisfy both his justice and his love.
At the cross, Jesus stood in our place and died the death we deserved to die. He willingly took our punishment and, as God in the flesh, there was no third party involved. Just God and us.
Christ died for sinners and he invites us all to turn to him and receive his love. Today, he is earnestly reaching out to you through his invitational love. How do you respond?