Our youngest daughter Jill is in town with her son Drew, and with both daughters and our son, Andrew, all in Carmel for the week, it feels like old times in our nuclear family. Jill is staying with Kristin and the boys and we are all having fun like in the old days. It is so great to see Kristin and Jill laugh together and to see their kids play together. Andrew and I have been pretty busy this week, so we haven’t been as involved as Janet and the rest of the family. But there are games and jokes and laughing and playing.
We are all remembering what it was like years ago, and it is so great to see the kids laughing together. To be sure, we are a passionate family – we really care deeply for one another, but we all represent ourselves, especially to one another, so sometimes things can get tense. But not this trip. It is pretty peaceful and all is right with the world, at least as our nuclear family is concerned. What makes this a little different from most visits is that there is just so much joking around going on.
Last night at dinner, Janet and I took the girls and Drew out and we were discussing events of the past; for example, the time that Jill had given up her apartment and lived with us for almost 6 months while her house was being built. And when I was in seminary, Andrew came back for a while and lived with us between apartments. Kristin has been gone the longest of the three, but we see her more than the others because she lives so close and we see her three boys so often, and as the oldest, we had a number of “firsts” with her.
I couldn’t help remembering some of the things that were so representative of Kristin throughout the years. Each of our three children has their own special traits – Jill has always been incredibly responsible and can take care of anything, and Andrew is the most compassionate of the three, while Kristin is one of those people you just can’t have a bad time around. She is always fun, is the center of attention and is very humorous. In fact, when she was little, she invented a song that we would sing to her, and we all memorized it so we could sing on demand. It was,
“We love you Kristin, Oh yes we do…. We love you Kristin, it’s true…. When we’re not with you, we’re blue….. Oh, Kristin, we love you! And she would love to have this sung to her wherever we happened to be – if we could get more people to join in, she liked it even better. I know it’s crazy – but it’s so Kristin…..
I remember all the different times and places that this song was sung. Now I would have been embarrassed to have anybody singing something like this to me, but Kristin would smile and laugh and we couldn’t help but laugh and smile with her. She got such great joy from knowing how much we loved her and that our love was unconditional. To this day, Kristin will tell you that she knows how much she is loved by Janet and me; and there is nothing that separates us from her, or Jill, or Andrew. Our love is true and complete for all of them.
It occurred to me this evening as I thought about all this that Jesus loves us with the same kind of unconditional love that Janet and I have for our children, but magnified! Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, Jesus might as well be singing a love song to us – much the same way we sang to Kristin. And when I think of Jesus singing to His people, I can’t help but smile – probably not so much different from the way that Kristin used to smile when we sang to her. Because each of us wants to be loved – it’s our nature. And as our faith grows, and as we enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus, we know that we can depend on His unconditional acceptance and love throughout our entire lives.
To be sure, whenever any of our children need help, they know that they can always turn to us; and as Christians, we should know that we can always turn to God. The verse tonight highlights the love that Jesus has for us. Paul, in Romans 8:38-39, tells us, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Wow….
My encouragement this evening is to let you know that NOTHING can separate you from the love of God; absolutely NOTHING. And my prayer is that you will take some time to get the know the Creator more intimately so that you can experience this love on a personal level. And if you don’t yet have a relationship with God, then my prayer is that you will consider it. Because there is nothing like knowing that you are loved more than you can imagine, unconditionally, and that you can always count on God to come to your aid. He may even sing to you….. I bet Kristin would just love that!