They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom as the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Throughout the Bible we hear of God speaking of His love for His people. The word ‘love’ can mean different things in the Hebrew, but when speaking of God’s love for His people, love is likened to the ideal love that should exist between spouses.
Reflecting on this love, we see a God who looks after people as a husband and wife should look after each other. As that husband and wife want to do only good for each other, God longs to do only good things for us. As that husband and wife should consider each other above all else, God does not think about Himself when He loves us. The things that we need are of primary importance to God.
This sort of analogy really makes sense when we consider the perfection of God’s love and dedication. In our earthly relationships we find spouses who stray from each other. Their relationship may break down for many reasons. It could be betrayal, a sense of separateness, emotional or physical desertion, and a whole host of other reasons. They rightly feel betrayed and may take actions to separate themselves permanently. But, on occasion, we find those unique relationships where the spouses work hard to rebuild their relationship despite breakdowns. They commit – and spend the time and forgiveness necessary – to rebuild their love.
While our human frailty has difficulty overcoming these hurts, except in unique circumstances, God’s perfect love never fails. He can be likened to those uniquely dedicated spouses. He remains faithful to His love commitment and is always willing and ready for us to return. Through His Holy Spirit He doesn’t give up on us, and calls us back. God’s love works to overcome everything.
The totality of good comes from God. So much so that He gave Himself for us in His Son Jesus. All so that no sin, no breakdown, will stand in the way of our relationship with God. He has already overcome, we don’t need to do anything but say yes to Him. Because of this, St. Paul was able to declare: I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
No matter past separation, God is ready for us and we can all partake of Him. He welcomes all and has already reconciled all things in Jesus. We can all join with Him, and in Him with each other. Jesus was careful to explain that those who would come to Him later will receive the same wage was those who came to Him first. God makes no distinction in loving us. In Him we are all loved.