A few months after the arrival of our little girl, my husband casually mentioned a quote he had heard while listening to an online sermon. The quote itself was powerful, but the timing of the quote—as a new mom—made it heartbreaking.
“You’ll never understand how much God loves you until you understand how much God loved Jesus.”
I thought I knew love. I love my parents. I love my brothers. I love my husband. But the way that I love my daughter—the way I feel about that toothless grin and the tiny rolls on her thighs and the way she holds my finger in her wet, chubby fist when she sleeps—is the most overwhelming and terrifying feeling I have ever known. It’s the kind of love that is bone deep. I would do anything and everything in my power to keep her from ever feeling pain or sadness. When she cries, my soul cries. I love her completely and fiercely.
If I’m able to love my daughter that much, even with all of my imperfections, how much did God love Jesus? How much did the perfect Father love the perfect Son?
God was not powerless. He had the power to keep His son from ever feeling pain or sadness. Instead, His soul cried as He saw him being stripped and beaten. As He saw nails pierce his hands. As He saw them spit in his face. He saw His son hang on a cross. And then, He left him.
On the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The penalty for sin is death – both physical and spiritual. Separation of the spirit from the body (physical) and separation of the spirit from God (spiritual). Since Jesus was taking our punishment, He had to actually experience the agony of separation from His Father for the first time. God didn’t just leave him on the cross, he left him on the cross alone—so that we would never have to be alone.
How can we possibly think that God doesn’t love us? Or, even worse, that He doesn’t love us enough? He left His son on the cross so that nothing could separate us from Him.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
– Romans 8:38-39