1Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits--
3who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children--
18with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
There is nothing that my daughter could ever do in her entire lifetime, good or bad, that would make me love her more or less than I already do. She is mine, and that makes her unconditionally loved. In the past, I've been forced to explain to my parents some of the greatest mistakes I've made over the course of my life, only to hear them say every time, "we still love you." Now that I know what it is to love someone like that, it makes perfect sense. Her actions will never dictate the level of my love for her.
While those of us who go by the title of Christian seek to spend our lives in pursuit of holiness, trying our best to become more Christlike every day, ultimately we know that there is no amount of effort we can put forth on our own to attain perfection. We all need to be reminded at times that the Christian life is not a treadmill of good works, and there is enough Grace in God's economy for every single sin. I'm reminded of that now every time I look into the face of my beautiful little girl.
Too often in life we forget that, "there is no one righteous, not even one." (Rom. 3:10) He knew from the beginning of time that we would never be able to perfectly keep the rules and laws he laid down for us, which is why from the beginning Jesus existed as the mediator who would come to satisfy the law and secure our right relationship with God once and for all.
Hopefully you will all one day share the joy of parenthood. When you do, entire passages of the bible will take on infinitely more meaning and depth than they've ever had before. You can't possibly understand what unconditional love is until you feel it for a tiny little human who is too helpless to even lift their own head, let alone feed and clothe themselves. Then you will see passages like Isaiah 46:3-4 differently:
“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Though my sins were as scarlet, he has made them white as snow.