New parents I can’t describe how I felt on the day in August 1980 when our first child was born. Marilyn my wife had an up and down pregnancy with almost constant morning sickness for the first three months. Then there was the scare about spina bifida and the amniocentesis that gave us the all clear. As time went on Nicholas James began to make his presence known with kicks and other strange movements in the womb. The day that he was born was also challenging. The birth was induced. There were problems. Forceps were dropped on the floor. Marilyn got high on gas and air and told me to park the car on the seafront. It wasn’t an easy birth but all was forgotten when we were presented with our 9lb 7oz son who at nearly twenty-four inches in length caused a bit of a stir among the nursing staff.

The moment we set eyes upon Nick both Marilyn and I were captured, captivated and entranced by our love for our son. We still are. Even though Nick is a grown man with a son of his own. The process of becoming parents for the first time did not deter a repeat performance and God has blessed us with three other sons and one daughter, all of whom we love dearly. I have difficulty defining our love for our children in words. It just exists. It is part of us. Even in the most challenging times of parenting it has never failed, it has never been damaged and it has never diminished.

Mere consideration of human love apparent in one family cannot come close to comparison with the love that God has for all of humanity. So why do human beings have such difficulty in understanding the width and length and height and depth of God’s love? Everything is rooted in His love, from the very act of creation when God breathed His breath into the first man. And God gives life and breath to every one of us. He cherishes us through the highs and lows, rights and wrongs, successes and failures, achievements and mistakes. God is always there. And just as a human parent welcomes every reciprocated act of love from his or her children, so God waits for His love for us to be returned.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV)