Why are we told to not take God’s love for granted?
Negatively, it’s usually used to control us. It’s used to make us afraid of not being able to get it or keep it. It’s used to dictate to us how to live our lives, how to feel, think and behave.
Positively, it’s used to make us continually mindful of God’s love, always thinking about it, always thankful for it, always living up to it.
I want to suggest that neither of these are perfect. Obviously, the first is fear based. Less obviously, so is the second one.
As a parent, the last thing I want is for my kids to feel they can’t get my love and are always afraid of losing it if they do. The second last thing I want is for my kids to always be thinking about how much I love them and for them to constantly be mindful of it and living up to it. Like I’m doing them a favor by loving them. No. As a parent, I want them to take my love for them for granted so that they don’t even have to assume that I love them. They just know it, deep down in the fibers of their being, and that they never have to question it, earn it, try to keep it or even be thinking about it. I believe this assumption on their part will prepare to send them into the world fearless, compassionate and just.
Do we think about every breath we take? Are we conscious of it or always feeling the need to be thankful for it? Or do we just breathe? Sure, occasionally we might burst forth in eternal praise for fresh air. But we take it for granted.
If there is a God, and if God is love, then why can’t we take this love for granted like we take the air we breathe for granted? Isn’t this the kind of love that one would expect from such a God? Isn’t this the kind of love that propelled Jesus into his world fearless, compassionate and just, never having to wonder if his father loved him, never feeling the need to get it or keep it, indeed, taking it for granted?
What if you suddenly surgically removed that cancer from your life? What if you removed the fear of not getting God’s love? What if you removed the fear of not keeping it? What if you didn’t even have to think about it or be thankful for it? What if, one day, while you were saying your prayers, you said to God, “Father, thank you so much for loving me!” and God actually responded, “What are you talking about? Why are you feeling so insecure? Why do you feel so needy? Stop feeling like I’m doing you a favor! Of course I love you! This is the greatest ‘of course’ of all time. No! Please! Take my love for granted!”
Instead of anxiously looking forward to getting it or thankfully looking back that you got it why not just live in it?