For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

“HOW DO I LOVE THEE?” Elizabeth Barrett Browning asked the question and then answered it with her classic sonnet that began: “Let me count the ways / I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach . . .” Human love is a wonderful thing and can be expressed in countless ways. When our grandchildren were little, we would stretch out our arms and say, “I love you this much.” They would respond, “I love you more. I love you this much,” and they would try to stretch their arms out wider. And the contest and claims of love would go as far as each could reach.

God said He so loved us and He reached all the way from heaven to earth to show how much. The reach of His love has no limit. There is no depth of sin that exceeds His reach. There is no distance of rebellious flight that can go beyond His reach. He reaches out with nail-pierced hands to the one who does not want to believe. His reach is felt by the hard-hearted man who never experienced love until he experienced God’s tender touch.

We could never reach Him, so He came to where we are. We can now reach far enough to receive the gift of His Son by believing—by placing our faith in Him. His love can be experienced through countless acts of providence and grace, but the best way is by accepting the gift of His Son. We love Him because He first loved us.

Believe and receive—that opens the way to experience the love of God and prove our love toward Him.

Ken Heer is the author of Ancient Fire (WPH) and has been a pastor and church leader for fifty-two years.