Learning What Love Is
BY BARBARA RAINEY
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us. 1 JOHN 4:10
I have learned more about God’s love through our adopted daughter, Deborah, than from any other person on the planet. Although our five biological children certainly tested and tried us, Deborah tested our love more than all five of the others combined. Dennis and I faced countless opportunities just to walk away and say, “Look, this is too hard. We’re not going to do this anymore.” But we chose—over and over again—to love her, because we knew we did. And we knew God wanted us to.
I wrote in my journal: If Deborah were not mine, if she were not my child, would I love her? If I just passed her on the street, like I do countless other people each day, what would draw me to her? What would make me love her out of all the other people I see? She could be just another human being in my path, but she’s not. God has made her ours somehow. And I have discovered a kind of love for Deborah that is unlike my love for any of our other five children. I have discovered a taste of God’s unfathomable, undeserved, unexplainable, extravagant love—a supernatural love defined by His grace. Because of Deborah, I know God in a way I could never have known Him otherwise. He has called me to lengths and depths of love I didn’t know I was capable of but which I learned He can supply, because He is love. I don’t love Deborah more than our other five children, but I do love her in a different way, and I know more love for my other kids than I would have ever known without her.
Anyone can love a child who is theirs by birth. But to love one who is adopted—this is to know the love of God.
Is there someone in your life who sometimes requires great effort to love?
Tell God, “Thank You for being love, for giving us the capacity to love and for teaching us how to love.”
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