“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” Elbert Hubbard
Do you ever wonder why some memories stick and other don’t? As I get older I wish I could remember more of my experiences from the past — all those little things from my childhood and from my children’s younger years.
I do recall one Thanksgiving. I was maybe in fifth or sixth grade. We were at my Grandma Alice’s house with my mom’s three siblings and all their children and spouses. I was one of the youngest grandkids. People were spread all through the house and then in a moment, everyone came together and my grandmother read Psalm 100:
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord…serve the Lord with gladness…know that the Lord is God! It is he who has made us, we are his…give thanks to him.”
I have always loved verse 3 - It is God who has made us, we are his. I know it sounds so simple, yet there is a world of meaning and implications in this simple truth. First, we know that everything that God makes is good (Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31) We also know that one of the most common ways to describe God throughout scripture, especially in the Psalms, is “steadfast love and faithfulness.” God is love.
My children are teenagers now. They do not need me like they did when they were infants, and toddlers, and preschoolers, yet my love for them has not changed. In fact, it has grown and I would gladly give my life for them if I could.
God’s love for us is even greater. “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast or show no compassion for the child in her womb? Even though she may forget, I will not forget you. See I have engraved you on the palm of my hand.” (Isa 49:15-16)
A mother’s love for her child is powerful yet compared to God’s love for us, it is nothing. God’s very nature is love. It is hard to define love but at it’s best it is not something to share in words but to do in action. God says I have made you and not only that, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
Sometimes in ancient times a master might write or tattoo his name on a servant but never was the name of the servant written on the master’s hand. The prophet Isaiah tells us that God has engraved you on the palms of his hands. We are with God. Her carries us with him in the palms of his hands. He will not forget us. It is God who has made us, we are his.
I recently discovered a prayer about the power of God’s love:
Father in Heaven! You have loved us first.
Help us never to forget that You are love so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts…
You have loved us first, O God!
We speak of it in terms of history as if You have only loved us first and a single time, rather that that without ceasing You have loved us first many times and every day and our whole life through.When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward you - You are the first - You have loved us first; If I rise at dawn and at the same time turn my soul toward you in prayer, You are there ahead of me, You have loved me first.When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward you, You are first and thus forever. *
There is a love that is steadfast and true. It is already there, waiting for you. Even before you can do anything worthy of being loved. God is there. He has loved you first! He knows everything about us and still loves us.
If fact, Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends.” (John 15:13-14) He has laid down his life for you. He will not forget you. You are written on the palms of his hands. He wants to be with you as we go through your day. He will love you first. Imagine it! You can walk into the love that is waiting for you today.
*This prayer is written by the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. This is a modern translation of his original prayer. His collection of prayers are found in The Prayers of Kierkegaard, edited by Perry D. LeFevre