A Love Without End, Amen | Reviewer: Randy Ehrler | 6/5/12

My father died when I was 31 years old. He never met two of my children. I have missed not having him in my life. I think that every man needs their father – to teach them, train them and to validate them as a man. There is not a day or age when this ends – as we pass through each stage of life – filled with new challenges and struggles – we need to have our fathers to turn to for advice, guidance and correction. So many of the troubles in our culture arise from the absence of fathers – we need their strength, courage and love to be complete. Many fathers, even the living, are not present in the lives of their families – they are wrapped up in work, sports, ambitions and worldly success. They are in the family picture – but not in the heart of the family.

We crave a love that is without measure, without merit – that is intrinsic and enduring. So often the recognition we receive comes from our works – we are trained chimps – getting good grades and scoring the winning touchdown so we will be loved and accepted. This creates a cycle in life that never ends – the need to prove oneself, to impress, to wow, to achieve and to win – all for love and acceptance. This song speaks of a father’s love – of our Fathers love – a love that is based on grace, not works. Yes, he wants us to succeed, to do our best, to fulfill our potential and to be all he created us to be – but that is not why he loves us. He loves us because we are his own. Period. The rest is gravy.

I have five children. I love them with all my heart. They are each unique – talented in different ways. They succeed, they screw up, the please me, they enrage me, they make me proud, they frustrate me – they win and they lose. My feelings for them do not change with the event or the outcome – my love for them endures even when I am disappointed.

His love for us is a love without end, amen. I am slowly learning and taking this truth to heart – I cannot earn his love, nor can I lose his love. I may lose his favor, but never his grace. So works are not to gain salvation, they are to please our Father, they are a means of expressing our heartfelt love and gratitude and of sharing it with others in his name.

Good works are an outgrowth of the holy spirit – nothing else – they express our love and joy – they are not intended to be a source of recognition or accolades. Equally, grace does not exclude us from punishment for our sins – just as an earthly father will punish his child for wrongdoing – so shall our eternal Father – with love in his heart he will provide the correction needed to ensure our safety and salvation. Punishment is not the absence of love, it is the epitome of love – it means that one cares enough to ensure that the individual doesn’t fall too far of course – down a path that leads to destruction.

I find tremendous peace in this knowledge. The love I feel for my own children is the same love both of my father’s felt/feel for me. I am forgiven, accepted and loved – as I am. And so are you! Everything else is gravy.