God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8 (NIV)
On the website of the National Archives in Washington, DC, there is a page where you can examine the Declaration of Independence. The document is faded, but you can still make out many of the signatures. The signature of John Hancock, of course, is famous. Zoom in, however, on the right-hand column. Find the signature of John Adams. Then look at the third name below his. There you will find the signature of Stephen Hopkins. In that signature there is a story.
The signature of Stephen Hopkins is unusually shaky. If you had been signing your name on that day, your signature may have been shaky too. In the same week that independence from England was declared, a British force landed—a force so massive that it was larger than the entire population of the largest American city. In signing this parchment, Stephen Hopkins knew that if the British military captured him, he would face the hangman’s noose.
His shaky signature, however, was not from fear. Rather, it was from a physical condition known as palsy. And Stephen Hopkins wanted everyone to understand this. For after writing his name, he declared to those present, “My hand trembles. But my heart does not.” And so in the signature of Stephen Hopkins—there is the story of his devotion to his new country.
Nevertheless, even this kind of devotion pales in comparison to God’s devotion to us.
There are all kinds of moments when we feel tempted to question whether God truly cares. When there is too much month left at the end of the paycheck, when there is a health crisis, when someone we love is breaking our heart, when it seems as though loneliness is so thick we could suffocate—these and other episodes just like them can get us to wonder if God thinks about us at all.
It is for such moments, however, that the Word of God speaks. When the dark episodes arise, the apostle Paul reminds us how devoted to us our God really is. He says in Romans chapter 5, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God’s personal devotion to us is so passionate, so complete, so pure, that even when you and I cared nothing at all about God and cared only about ourselves—it was then that God chose to sacrifice his own Son to wash us clean, to make us family, to rescue us from hell.
His devotion for you is beyond question. Tremble not.
Heavenly Father, sometimes I tremble in worry and fear. When I do, remind me of your devotion and love. Remind me what you did to make me your own. Amen.