John 3:16 – For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only-begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. (AMP)
I know I must have a broad smile upon my face as I type this devotional. This is such a precious memory from my childhood. Toward the end of World War II, my parents bought a house in London, where my father helped to relocate my mother, my sister, and me. In the meantime, my father remained at his employment, dismantling a munitions factory, returning it to its original pre-war production of chocolate candy. During this time, and many years afterward, there were numerous consumer goods which were not readily available for various reasons. My mother had written to my father saying that she could not get a delivery of coal. Although the weather in that part of Britain (now the United Kingdom) does not have such cold weather as in many parts of Canada, it often has a fall of snow during the winter months, and together with the general dampness, it can be bone-chilling.
My mother, my sister, and I gathered in the smallest room of the house, which we called the breakfast room, the heavy drapes serving a double purpose: for the blackout and for eliminating drafts from the double doors. Although we wore heavy clothing, we still felt very cold, and we were not the happiest trio. It was late Saturday night when a knock came at the front door, and we all gathered there to see who could be calling at such a late hour. It was my father, struggling under the weight of a huge, battered suitcase, and red in the face, no doubt from walking up the very steep hill to our home and facing a bitterly cold wind. (Taxis were an unknown service in many parts of Britain.)
We could not even imagine what was in the suitcase. But my father opened it immediately, and there, nestled inside, were two fat little sacks of coal! He had purchased them in the town where he was living. My sister and I just hugged and hugged my father, and he received all this attention with a happy grin, his grey, hazel eyes just sparkling. My mother just stood back, smiling as though to say, "I knew my man would do something about this situation." What a precious evening we spent together as a family around a roaring fire. My father could have remained in the comfort of his accommodation, but his family, whom he considered to be the main responsibility of his life, was in need, and his love overcame all personal comforts. But this sacrificial love was indeed reciprocated.
Prayer: Gracious heavenly Father, we can understand fatherly love when it is reciprocated. But we behold in wonder the ongoing love of a heavenly Father who accepts our rejection, our ungraciousness, yet continues to love us and woo us to Himself. Thank You for Your patience, and above all, for Your unconditional love. We approach Your throne with thanksgiving, in the name of Your Son, Christ Jesus. Amen.