When I first held my baby in my arms, he weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces. My whole body was in knots as I cuddled, dressed, and fed my miniature package for a terrifying week in the NICU. I never really fell asleep, I didn't rest, my mind couldn't focus on anything else. My heart ached for my new baby. Every spasm of pain and miserable feeding, I held him, prayed over him, wept for him...
We left that NICU after one week. A short stay compared to many...
But something had lodged itself in my heart. Like a splinter of glass, there was a new rawness, a new edge. Sometimes, it quietly lets itself be forgotten. During long days of working while he was still so tiny. During nights where we both finally fell into an exhausted sleep. During those times... I forgot.
And then he smiled at me.
He had his first belly laugh.
He needed a sick-boy mommy cuddle time.
He got fatter.
His personality begins to peep through.
In those moments, I remember. And the ache returns. My heart aches over the little life entrusted to me. Every joy fills me with gladness, every sorrow makes me cry, my heart longs after my baby.
And this is but a shadow of God's aching and longing for you.
In the New Testament, God is referred to as "our father" or "the father" over and over and over again. The phrase "grace and peace to you from God our Father" occurrs nine times (in my brief search through the ESV translation alone).
The Bible is a relatively short book. It is our guide in this life. Think of all the things God could have possibly wanted to cram into it: "don't do this," "make sure you do this," "remember such-and-such."
But in this short book, God chose to refer to himself as our father again and again. And as our Father, He sent blessings of grace and peace. Again and again.
If I, a fragile, fallible human parent, feel the aching of sacrificial love for my small son (and unborn baby girl), then how much more so is God's infinite aching after us, His adopted sons and daughters? He gave the perfect sacrifice to save us. He equipped us with everything we needed to become like His perfect son, Christ. And He watches our daily struggles, our fight on this earth, with the aching and longing that we would fully realize the grace and peace He so freely offers.
Revel in belonging to a God of whom it is written:
"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens."
Because with this boundless love... He loves you.