Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).
If you have read previous entries in the Hymns in My Heart blog you know that I have spoken of the love of God. It is my favorite theme; without it there would be no other themes. Jesus Loves Me This I Know was the first Christian song I learned as a child. I can remember Mrs. Mills teaching my brother and I the song when we were only two years old. Yet this song is not just one that my brother and I learned; chances are that most children that have attended Sunday School or Catechism classes have sang it. Jesus Loves Me is one of the most revered Christian hymns around the world. The song has such a simple message that Christian missionararies used the song to teach the Gospel of Christ in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. One of the most dedicated Christian missionaries of the 19th century, Amy Carmichael, accepted Christ after singing the song. She became a devoted missionary to India where she worked with children; some were young girls that had been forced in to prostitution at early ages. As a side note, Amy Carmichael is quoted “One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving.”
For many years, Jesus Loves Me was regarded as the favorite hymn of the Chinese church. Tradition has it that the Chinese church endured a devastating time during the cultural revolution when Mao Tse Sung tried to crush it. After years of languish in the early 1970s, a cryptic note was sent to Christians outside the country. The note said “The this I know people are well.” The words to a simple Chirldren’s song, a song that had been used to spread the Gospel of Christ to Asia and uttermost parts of the world, had served to let Christians in other lands know the Chinese Christian church was well. Recent estimates show the number of Christians in China to be around 40 million. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God (1 John 3:1).
Perhaps it is fitting that the most widely know verse in the Holy Bible also speaks of God’s love toward each of us, towards you and me. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (Jonn 3:16). We are told in Romans 5:8: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Oh what love that he would die for me! Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Rev 1:5).
As Amy Carmichael did, we should both proclaim and demonstrate the love of God. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom 5:5). We don’t have to go to foreign lands or even to the neighboring city to show God’s love; we should do that where we are, and whereever we are. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour (Eph 5:1, 2).
God will never remove his love from his children. Romans 8:38-39 tells us: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. His love is everlasting as expressed in 2 Thes 2:16.
According to Wikipedia, Lieutenant John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 was rammed and sank near the Solomon Islands in 1943. Lieutenant Kennedy and other survivors were rescued by local islanders who sang Jesus Loves Me with US Marines. The islanders had learned the song from missionaries. Anna Bartlett Warner and Susan Warner penned the original lyrics of Jesus Loves Me in 1860. in 1862, William Bradbury set the lyrics to the music adding the chorus we learned as children.
Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
For the Bible tells me so.
Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.
Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.
Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee