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1 John 4:10

Constant Hope and Strength

When a godly Christian became seriously ill, several friends gathered around his bedside to ask God to restore him. The last one to pray spoke of the faithful service of this man, and concluded his petition by saying, “Lord, You know how he loves You.” After a moment of silence, the sick believer said to him, “I know you meant well, but please don’t plead for my recovery on that basis. When Lazarus was ill, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus, but their request was not based on his affection for Christ. They said, ‘Lord, he whom You love is sick.’ It’s not my weak and faltering allegiance to Him that calls forth His attention, but His perfect love for me that is my constant strength and hope.”

The same thought was forcefully impressed on hymn writer Philip Bliss one day after he finished singing, “Oh, How I Love Jesus.” “These words are true,” he said. “Yet I feel guilty for having sung so much about my poor love for Christ and so little about His endless love for me.” As a result, he wrote a song that is well known today. It reads,

I am so glad that our Father in heaven
Tells of His love in the Book He has given;
Wonderful things in the Bible I see—
This is the dearest, that Jesus loves me.”

Yes, our greatest comfort in life or in death is not that we love Him, but that “He loved us” (1 John 4:10). - H.G.B.

Our Daily Bread, August 5

His Love for Us

A devout Christian was taken seriously ill. In his weakened physical condition, he became vulnerable to Satan’s attacks and began to have many doubts and fears. He was especially troubled about the lack of love he felt in his heart for God, so he asked the advice of a fellow believer who called on him. His friend offered this wise counsel: “When I go home, I expect to take my baby girl on my knee, look into her sweet, trusting eyes, and listen to her delightful chatter. I’ll do this because I thoroughly love that child. She’s just an infant, and she loves me very little. If my heart were breaking, her innocent sleep would not be disturbed. If my body were racked with pain, her play would not be interrupted. Even if I were to die, she’d probably forget me in a few days. But all the money in the world could not buy my little daughter. And why? Does she love me, or do I love her? Do I withhold my love until I know she feels the same toward me? Certainly not! I love her because she’s my child.”

The illustration spoke to the sick man’s heart. Tears began to well up in his eyes. “Now I see!” he exclaimed. “It’s not my love for God but His love for me that I should be thinking of. Oh, I do love Him now as never before!” - H.G.B.

Our Daily Bread, April 5