I had a good friend who was a test pilot on the F-14 fighter jet. He held a number of the speed records on the plane during its testing phase. As he explained it, he was a bit crazy at the time and had nothing that stopped him from going all out. Fortunately, he was also a very good pilot and was able to always make it to the ground safely. Later Joe had a conversion experience and gained some more balance in his life.
It’s rare to use something at top speed or 100%. If you turn your garden hose on full you will most likely blast your flowers out of the ground; if you floor the gas pedal on your car, you will eventually go off the road or crash into the person in front of you. You have to be careful going “full out”. Only crazy people go full out. Well, that’s not always true.
Some things only have a “FULL OUT SETTING”; there’s no calibrated “low, medium, high” position. God’s love only has a “full, 100%, absolute” setting. God only loves FULLY. When God loves, it’s all out. God never partially loves; he never loves a little bit…. There’s only one setting….100%.
Think about it. “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, so that those who believed in him would not perish, but have eternal life.” (John3:16) He didn’t give his son partially. Jesus didn’t “to some extent” come and suffer and die and save us…he did it completely…100%. This is very important to understand so that we know that God has and will do everything to save us and bring us home to heaven. He’s never limited in his response to us.
Most of us get tempted at times to think “hmmmmm, God may love the world and he may love you with his full love, but I’m really a second string player in this game; I’m no First Team Hall of Famer…. I have failed too many times. God has dialed back his love for me… he may still tolerate me, but I’m not getting the full love anymore. I had my chance and blew it.” Well, that scenario is impossible. God doesn’t have a 25% setting on his love for you and me. It’s always 100%.
Now, his full love may be expressed differently at times for each of us. Sometimes it may be expressed in discipline and it may not seem like love because of the pain…but it’s still 100% love. The Letter to the Hebrews explains that,
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons…. but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.Hebrews 12:7-11
So let’s not mistake God’s different acts of love in our life as a sign that he no longer loves us, or loves us less than fully. The bottom line is that God loves us completely and fully and is committed to getting us home to heaven. His kindness and mercy and faithfulness toward us are absolute… because his love for us is absolute.
After his conversion my friend Joe brought that same 100% mentality to serving the Lord, loving the needy, visiting the prisoners, rescuing those on the fringe. He wasn’t flying jets any longer, but he was completely sold out in loving the Lord and telling everyone that Jesus loves them 100%. Joe had only one speed when it came to the Lord… full speed ahead. He’s now with the Lord, enjoying that full and complete love of God face to face. And that is very good news.
This reflection is from Dave Touhill Sr.’s blogposts, 2022-2023.
Top image credit: close-up photo of jet pilot looking out of open cockpit, from Bigstock.com, © VanderWolf Images, stock photo ID: 473744515. Used with permission.