The answer doesn’t really make much sense. But it often works.
Children often ask questions adults can’t answer. What is darkness? Why is there air? Who made God? Why can’t I do it? After stumbling through a response that sounds like it should make sense, the child will often follow up with another question and then another. Finally, out of frustration, a parent will resort to “Just because.” At that point children usually know the conversation is over.
Christians often ask the question “Why does God love me?” The first reaction is usually about trying to find some redeeming value in one’s self. God must love me because he sees something in me that prompts his love. But such reasoning is working backwards. To understand why God loves me requires me looking at God, not myself.
In his book The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis touches upon the nerve of this truth. His words, at times, sound contradictory,
“We all need at times, some of us at most times, that Charity from others which . . . loves the unlovable. But this, though a sort of love we need, is not the sort we want. We want to be loved for our cleverness, beauty, generosity, fairness, usefulness. The first hint that anyone is offering us the highest love of all is a terrible shock. This is so well recognized that spiteful people will pretend to be loving us with Charity precisely because they know that it will wound us. To say to one who expects a renewal of Affection, Friendship, or Eros, ‘I forgive you as a Christian’ is merely a way of continuing the quarrel. Those who say it are of course lying. But the thing would not be falsely said in order to wound unless, if it were true, it would be wounding.”1
It is ironic: We want God to love us but know we are unlovely, so we keep looking for that one redeeming value. Then suddenly it dawns on us. “The first hint that anyone is offering us the highest love of all is a terrible shock.”
“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers.” – Deuteronomy 7:7-8.
- C. S. Lewis. The Four Loves in The Beloved Works of C. S. Lewis (New York: Inspirational Press, 2004) 284.