Often when he says this to me I can't help but think of God and His love. It is amazing to me how much my children can teach me about my relationship with God. I should be saying "I love you too God". Do I have that innocent, child-like faith that knows of a Heavenly Father that already loves me without having to question it? Sometimes I do, but sometimes this world gets in the way of that. I question His love for me. I wonder if His love changes based on my actions and attitudes.
If I look at how I love my son, (un-conditionally, deep and unwavering since the moment I knew of his existence, without having to have him do a single thing but exist to obtain that love) how much more can and does God love me for absolutely no reason more than the mere fact that I exist?!
If distance comes between God and I it is not due to a lack of love on God's part. I think again of the relationship between parent and child. When a child is 2 they are headstrong, defiant, and wanting to separate themselves from their parent. The vision in my head is of a child running as fast as they can to some dangerous but alluring distraction. I am that 2 year old. I am running towards that dangerous new distraction, wanting freedom from the watchful eyes of my "parent". Like a parent, God doesn't turn His back and run the opposite way. His love doesn't lesson or move away from me. I am the one causing the distance. Depending on the situation, God is either standing firm in His same position, watching carefully waiting for me to run back to Him asking Him to kiss away the "boo-boos" or He is running towards me. His love is running towards me trying desperately to spare me from whatever mortal danger I am chasing this time.
So often in the church we hear that sin separates us from God. It is true it does, but like in my illustration above, I don't think it is God who is walking away from us when we sin, it is us defiant, head-strong, easily distracted 2 year olds running away from Him that causes separation. Un-like a 2 year old though, we forget what my own son knows about our relationship and that is that we can always walk back to God look up at Him and say, "I love you, too!" We/I don't have to question if this time He will kiss the "boo-boos" my dis-obedience caused. I don't have to question if His love for me has grown cold or if He has grown tired in the wait for me to turn around and run back to Him. I need to have that innocent child-like faith that no matter what, no matter how far I run, no matter how long it takes, or how big the "boo boo's" I can always come back to God and say, "I love you, too", because I should know that His love never left, changed, wavered, or moved away from me.
I can't help but think of the story of the prodigal son. I always thought of it as a story for the non believer, but now that I think upon it, I am almost convinced that it is more so for the believers. The child was already a son, he took his inheritance and he went far away from his father and his home. He wasted his inheritance and lived in a way in which he should not have. The whole time he was gone his father never moved, he stayed, waiting for the son to return. When the son finally did return the father RAN to him, he threw a huge party, he welcomed him home. Notice the father didn't stand there with his arms crossed, asking questions, saying "I told you so", or refuse to see him. No, I will say it again, HE RAN to his lost child. WOW! Isn't that awesome cool?! The father never gave up hope of seeing his son return, he never grew tired of waiting, his love never dimmed.
I don't know where any of you are in your lives, but wherever you are I hope you know that you can turn to God and in all confidence say to Him, "I love you, too!", because I hope you know that His love for you is already established, simply because you exist!
*Thanks God for that reminder, shown to me in such a small and powerful way through my own son. I love you, too God. I love you, too.*