We have a dog, Max. He’s been with us for about 6 months and we are still training him, so apologies if you ever see him and he barks at you or lurches at your dog. He’s lovely really. Honest. Max is from Romania, a street dog who had a wretched start to life fending for himself, scavenging for food and avoiding people who wanted to kill him until he was rescued from the streets and placed in a shelter. He was cared for in a quite unpleasant environment, but cared for none the less, until he was brought over to this country where he is now part of our family.

We love him and that’s why we wanted him. We didn’t want a constant companion, or someone to get us out of the house when it’s time for walkies, his and ours. We’ve never had a great desire to pick up dog poop. We wanted him to simply love him, to transform his life, removing its sadness by showering him with unconditional love. We do that and as a result he loves us back. He loves us because we first loved him.

It’s amazing that the Bible says basically the same thing about our love for God. A disciple of Jesus, John by name, wrote “We love because God loved us first.”(1) He was talking to Christians who had a faith in Jesus Christ their Saviour, and he was pointing out that any love they can express towards God or each other is only because they have first experienced the love of God.

We are by nature sinners, and although we may not appreciate it, our lives are wretched because the sin within us separates us from God. We go through life alienated from him, doing our own thing, and the honest ones among us know that it doesn’t satisfy. Whatever our own thing is, it doesn’t give us any sense of peace or comfort. Of course, there are people who will say there’s nothing wrong with my life, I’ve got all I could ever want. Fair enough, but coronavirus is damaging the earth’s economy, and everything you’ve ever wanted may not be yours for much longer. Besides, whatever it is you’ve got, you can’t take it with you into eternity. At best it’s only temporary whereas the love of God is everlasting.

We’re a bit like Max. We live lives fending for ourselves, but there is someone wanting to rescue you and give you his unconditional love. That’s Jesus, who died for you on a cross at a place called Calvary, just outside the walls of Jerusalem. The sin that separates you from God he took upon himself to set you free from its curse, to rescue you so that he could love you unconditionally. Billions over the centuries have enjoyed his love and have been honoured to love him in return. Why don’t you join us?

If you want to know more contact us and we’ll be happy to share with you all we can. We’re still working in the village of Aberkenfig during this crisis, delivering prescriptions and helping out in whatever way we can. Look out for information on our Facebook page or in shop windows in the village. May God richly bless you.

(1) 1 John 4:19