I Love You This Much

Four years old—and he taught me one of the most important truths in the whole wide universe.

I was lounging in a comfortable living room chair reading a magazine when my four-year-old brother walked into the room, his arms overflowing with toys. Normally I would have told him to play in his room because he is too noisy and I would have to clean up after him. But since I knew he wouldn’t want to do that, I decided not to start a fight I probably wouldn’t win.

He deposited his toys in the middle of the floor and began to play, making appropriate noises for each of his stuffed animals as he picked them up. I laughed, to which he responded with a pouting lower lip.

“Come here, Blake,” I called to him, putting my magazine down. He climbed into my lap. I gave him a hug and said, “I love you,” unconsciously starting his favorite game.

“I love you more,” he insisted, returning my hug.

“No way! I love you more!” I demanded, squeezing him tighter.

He crawled down from my lap. “I love you this much,” he said, stretching his arms out as far as they would go, grunting from the strain.

I stretched my arms out and said, “Well, I love you this much,” which was more because my arms are nearly twice the length of his.

“I love you as much as this whole room.”

I came back with, “I love you as much as this house.”

“I love you as much as the whole world.”

“I love you as much as the whole universe!” I thought I had won because he doesn’t know what the universe is.

“I love you as much as Jesus,” he said surely.

I smiled. He had won. I knew I couldn’t beat that. I asked him to give me a kiss, and he did—a nice wet one on my cheek.

I was not surprised that he had thought of it and I hadn’t. It seems that many of us forget what Sunbeams seem to know so well—that Jesus Christ loves us.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh