The Expansive Love of God

picture of a painting on a wall with a doorway and open door in backgroundI used to be afraid of God’s expansive love. 

When Peter’s mom was sick with cancer, we moved down to New Orleans temporarily to be with her as she recovered from surgery and chemotherapy and radiation. While we were there, a crew of local friends and family gathered around her to care for her. None of them conformed to my little idea of what it meant to be a Christian. They didn’t have the same ideas I did about morality or other religions or the significance of Jesus’ death on a cross. 

Scared of Love

But I could not deny that the love of God was present and active within these beautiful, flawed, compassionate women and men. 

It scared me.

It scared me to think that I could see God at work in people who didn’t believe the “right” things. Who didn’t follow Jesus the way I thought they were supposed to. Who talked about astrology and Reiki and Buddhism. 

My experience of God was deep, and narrow. And when the narrow but deep river of God’s love expanded to include all these people, I was afraid it would become a shallow and stagnant pond.

But it didn’t.

The Expansive Love of God

That narrow, deep, flowing river became a wide, deep, flowing river. That narrow conception of who God loved and who God could work through became an expansive understanding of God’s image in all of humanity, God’s Spirit responding to even the smallest mustard seeds of faith, God’s compassion in and through so many unexpected people. 

I was afraid my faith would become shallow if I allowed it to grow wide. But I learned that God’s expansive love is wider and deeper and more powerful than I had ever imagined.


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Hi, I’m Amy Julia.

I write about faith, family, disability, and privilege.

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