Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in […]
Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
Politics aside, I think most readers would be moved by the “love story” as told by George W. Bush in his book 41: A Portrait of My Father. In its pages the former president tells about his father’s “unconditional love”. He and his siblings felt “there was no point in competing with our father – no point in rebelling against him – because he would love us no matter what.”
He tells a particularly tender story about his sister Robin’s death from leukemia in 1953: “In one of her final moments with my father,” Mr. Bush remembers, “Robin looked up at him with her beautiful blue eyes and said, ‘I love you more than tongue can tell.’ Dad would repeat those words for the rest of his life.” How powerful it must have been to hear a father frequently say to his children, “I love you more than tongue can tell.”
But words of love have to be repeated and repeated because they can be hard words to absorb. What I was taught in college classes on personality development proves true in life: it is difficult for us humans to accept being loved. From the fateful moment that Adam and Eve left the Garden humans have tried to earn love. It is hard to accept being loved because at the core of our Adamic nature there is fear, suspicion, lack of trust, perfectionism, and unease. Thinking we must earn love makes it difficult for getting really close to God and close to others. Like Adam and Eve we have gone into hiding, hiding our true selves from God and from others. Part of our ‘fallenness’ is the notion that we must earn God’s love. We find it difficult to believe, difficult to accept that God the Father Almighty loves us.
And yet God’s unconditional, unending love for us is the essence of the Gospel and what God calls us to believe. “So we have known and believe the love that God has for us” (I John 4:16). “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us” (I John 4:10). The Good News asks us to repent of believing all the Bad News about not being good enough for God to love us, not being accepted. At its most basic faith is believing that we are loved just as we are.
I have found it easy to believe in God’s love in general, but sometimes difficult to believe in God’s love for me personally. I guess that I know myself too well, the things I have done and still do, the many ways I am falling short. But I think of St. Augustine’s reminder that “A friend is someone who knows everything about you and still accepts you.” And I know that God knows everything about me and accepts me, and He loves me. Theologian Paul Tillich defined faith as “the courage to accept acceptance” (from book The Courage to Be). Every day I make the conscious decision to accept my acceptance by God. I bank my life on being loved by Him more than tongue can tell.
Notice that in today’s text we overhear Jesus talking to the Father about you and me. He tells Abba Father that He came to make known to us the Father’s “name” or character. And having revealed to us what Father is like Jesus will continue to reveal the Him so “that the love with which you [Father God] have loved me may be in them [us], and I in them [us].” Take time to let this sink in! Jesus prays that we might know that the Father loves us as He loves Jesus! The J. B. Phillips New Testament marvelously translates Jesus’ words as: “I have made your self known to them and I will continue to do so that the love which you have had for me may be in their hearts – and that I may be there also.”
This is love beyond comprehension. This is love more than tongue can tell. Think what it would mean for us to live in this limitless, unconditional love! So let’s pray for one another that each day we might know a little more of how much the Father loves us!
Grace and peace,
photo by Bob B. Brown
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, […]
Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a reproach to any people.
On this eve of critical mid-term elections I am thinking of blessed James Madison, the Father of the Constitution. He was thirty-six years old as he stepped down from the New York-Philadelphia Flyer stagecoach on […]Continue Reading →
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Selah… “Be still, and know that I am […]
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as […]Continue Reading →
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this […]Continue Reading →
“The miracle of our Lord Jesus Christ in turning water into wine is no surprise to those who know that it was God’s doing. At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee Jesus filled six water pots with wine; but He does the same thing every year in the vines. In like manner […]Continue Reading →
“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth: you shall meditate on it day and night; so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful.”
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
It seems that life is filled with waiting. There is waiting in the checkout line, doctor’s office, airport terminal, […]Continue Reading →
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
II Peter 3:18
On recent walks through the woods of northern Minnesota, my wife Rita and I have contracted a virulent strain of phileomycelium. As far as I know there is no cure for this “love […]Continue Reading →
Rev. Dr. Timothy L. Smith
Water from Rock Ministries' founder and director, Rev. Dr. Timothy L. Smith is dedicated toward helping churches, clergy and lay people in their longing for spiritual depth and growth toward a more intimate relationship with God. During 35 years of ministering to people as a pastor, chaplain, spiritual director, adjunct seminary professor, and retreat leader, he has experienced the need for a soul care and Christian renewal ministry that focuses on the integration of head and heart, of faith and walk.
- Advent Devotional 2010
- Advent Devotional 2011
- Advent Devotional 2012
- Advent Devotional 2013
- Advent Messiah
- Holy Week
- Holy Week 2013
- Lenten Devotional 2012
- Lenten Devotional 2013
- Lenten Devotional 2014
- Lenten Devotionals 2011
- Past Events
- Seven Spiritual Practices for Busy People
- Tim's Thinking