For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom . . . because I love you. (Isa. 43:3–4)

“I know you’re engaged, but God told me we are supposed to be together.” As many times as I’ve heard this as a joke during my high school and college days, it seemed to work for my parents. After dating off and on for several years, they broke up completely, and my mom dated and became engaged to someone else. Sometime later, my dad informed her that God had told him the two of them would marry.

I don’t know many women who would have trusted a man who made such a bold statement, but I’m glad my mom did. My parents have been married for thirty-seven years. As in any love relationship, there have been ups and downs, arguments and agreements, and both emotionally draining and emotionally filling times. Through all of these, I have seen a commitment, love, and devotion that I hope to one day emulate in my own marriage.

My parents’ love relationship reminds me of the one between God and Israel, which also had its ups and downs and joys and challenges, though on a larger scale.

Through good times and bad, however, God never gave up, and His love never wavered. He even told them He would give other countries and people groups as a ransom to provide for them. That is how deeply He loved Israel, and how deeply He loves us, His children.

Meditate and weigh your own heart, determining for yourself the extent of your love for God.

Traver Paul Butcher, a PhD candidate in International Psychology, has a passion for helping individuals encounter God in cross-cultural experiences.