In my former church, the pastor emphasized that we can’t be “good enough” for God. I assume that what he meant was that we will never be able to “earn” salvation- it’s a gift. But his statement bothered me because of the way it was used.
Recently I went to a Christian comedian “concert” (Ken Davis). He told a story that his young granddaughter (under 6) had gotten lost in the mountains while they were camping a few years ago. They searched for 3 1/2 hours, and couldn’t find her. Called in search and rescue. Nothing. A storm was coming in. He was in a panic, sure, after not finding her in all that time, that she would never be found alive. Then the call came- hikers found her over 2 miles from camp, sitting on a rock. When they brought her back to camp, someone snapped a picture of him talking to her. He was squatted down, holding both her hands, looking straight in her eyes. And he asked us what we thought he was telling her. “Don’t you ever do that again!” “How could you wander off like that!” “You know better!” No. All he could say, again and again, was “I love you, I love you, I love you.” And he asked how we could think God, who loves us so much more, could do any less.
On the way home, I kept thinking about that. There was very little ever said about the love of God in my former church. But His love is very real, and very near. We may not ever be “good enough” to earn salvation, but that’s because it’s free. And if that’s the case, none of us is “bad enough” to slip beyond God’s love and mercy either. We have more than a Savior. We have a Father who loves us more dearly than we can even understand. And I love Him, too.