There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars… – 1 john 4:18-20
Sunday morning it snowed hard between services, Rebekah preached a remarkable sermon on a very difficult subject (more on that just as soon as I can also post a link to the message on-line), and then Naomi showed up with David and Beks to surprise their grandmama.
I knew in advance, of course, because Naomi wanted to make sure I’d be cooking her favorite spaghetti for supper.
TAKEOVER! It still amazes me how completely two small beings can take over an entire house. But then after a short while it always settles back down to building and books. David is the engineer, and Beks already seems to be well on the way to her PhD in children’s literature.
Our granddaughter enters the house with book in hand, has another tucked under her arm when she’s reading, and goes to sleep with one or more within reach. It’s a beautiful thing.
At bedtime, it’s already tradition to don pajamas, brush teeth, then meet Grandmama in “the most comfortable bed in the world” for one last story – or three – before settling down for the night. You can see in the photo how Beks is actually reading her own while listening to Rebekah tell the story. They’re miniature Beatrix Potter volumes, dubbed “my cute little books” by Beks.
What I love the most is the complete, nothing held back, gut-level love our grandchildren show us. They’re not perfect little angels, but they are innocent in the sense that they are untainted by cynicism, suspicion, negativity, and the eroding of trust that can be so damaging to human beings – and our relationships – as we move out into the world.
WHAT WE’RE GIVEN BACK WHEN WE TRUST IN JESUS: Watching my grandchildren makes me realize what we are given back when we learn to approach God again because we have learned to trust in Jesus.
What we’re given back is our innocence; and in exchange:
- we must leave our cynicism behind,
- we must abandon our tendency toward negativity,
- and we must embrace the invitation to love with nothing held back.
I’ll give you one thought from Rebekah’s sermon yesterday morning, and it comes from the pen of John. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love” (1 John 4:18)
Perfection in love. Now there’s a theology that speaks hope into a world defined by cynicism and mistrust.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.