For some reason, little children enjoy climbing into the laps of their parents, cuddling up, and going to sleep. Without a care in the world, in the most vulnerable positions, this little person entrusts themselves to you entirely. In all likelihood, this time of complete surrender with someone they trust is the highlight of their day. Does this type of peaceful rest belong only to little kids or can Christians enjoy this, too?
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18) Imperfect love, which is the best humans can do, carries many fears: the loved one may leave us, lose their love for us, make some big mistakes, or just pass away. What would perfect love look like? God says of Himself in Exodus 34:6, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands…” The term steadfast love, or hesed in Hebrew, is hard to translate in English; when used in Scripture, it alludes to a loyal love extending from God’s covenant promises to His people. In Psalm 136, David describes God’s steadfast love as relentless, driving Him to bring His people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness. Could this be the sort of love that could drive out all fear?
Maybe, but those things happened thousands of years ago to other people. What’s this steadfast love done for us today? This world is scary and if we’re ever going to get the peace of a little child on their parent’s lap, we need more. “For this is how God loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The act of offering His own Son was promised way back in Genesis 3:15; once God makes a covenant, count on it. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
The apostle Paul knew this perfect love of God, even after the trials he’d been through. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height for depth, not anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Paul’s life proves God’s perfect love; he was resting in God’s lap like a peaceful child. Believer, God’s fearless love will leave us fearless as well.