- Sonya Leigh Anderson
Who Does God Love?
Who does God love?
Or restated. Does God love everyone?
When this question first came up during a gathering of friends earlier this summer, it took me by surprise. I mean—it’s a no brainer, right? That God loves everyone?
We’d been talking about my friend Cindi’s son, Ryan, training to be a Navy SEAL. And we’d been talking, too, about my book, just days away from being released.
The Covenant Story: Trusting the Love of a Faithful God
“The Bible is a continuous story from beginning to end, and here is what you need to know. It is a love story. A story about people who are never faithful. And a faithful God who never gives up.”
Cindi voiced her concerns about her son’s chosen vocation, and friends were quick to provide answers. As evidenced by the Old Testament, there are people and nations who are enemies of God.
Yes true. God has enemies.
But who does God love?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
Doesn’t Jesus show us the heart of the Father?
You have heard that it was said…but I say to you…
Isn't it also true Jesus changes our story?
A day or two after our poolside gathering I was still grappling with Cindi’s question, responding to comments in a group text conversation, when I heard clearly from the Holy Spirit—
Pray for Ryan.
Which is what I’ve been doing ever since. Every few days I get a text from Cindi, with updates and specific requests for prayer. And in turn, Cindi has been praying for my family. In particular she prays for my son Luke—who, as I suggested—is the law student version of Cindi's SEAL. Together we ask God to protect and cover our sons—body, mind and soul. We ask God to use them, always for good, never for evil. We ask God to safeguard our sons, to prepare hearts and lives, that they may be agents of love.
And together we trust GOD'S LOVE for our sons.
From The Covenant Story:
We live here, in the midst of so much good and evil. And yet, two thousand years ago, the kingdom of heaven broke into our story, and the story changed. It changed, not just for someday, but for now—today. And heaven, it would seem, is nothing if not love. A lawyer once asked Jesus about the law. “Which command is the greatest?” he asked. The answer is famous:
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37–40)
Jesus’s disciples, then and now, will be known by this one defining thing. We will be known by our love (John 13:35).
And why should this surprise us? We have, after all, entered a love story. We who bear the very image of the one who is always “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in
steadfast love and faithfulness.” The whole story—from garden to exile, from death to resurrection, from then till now and beyond—hinges on the one thing that will never quit.
The persevering, never-ending, fierce and furious hesed love of our devoted God.