Selfish love

"When I see a little infant caressing its mother, would you have me say to it, 'You selfish child, how dare you pretend to caress your mother in that way? You are quite unable to appreciate her character; you love her merely because she loves you, treats you kindly'? You are as yet a babe in Christ. You love your God and Savior because He first loved you. The time will come when the character of your love will become changed into one which sees and feels the beauty and perfection of its object." ~ Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward

What a wonderful analogy this is. My children don't know my character very well yet (thank goodness!), yet they love me, a simple return of the love I invest in them from the day they are born. What beauty there is in the simplicity of this relationship, before they understand what love even is. Later will come much difficulty, I suspect, as they learn the complexities of life and free will. Now I bask in that pure, uncomplicated adoration they bestow on me. I wonder if God in heaven thinks the same of the love of newborn saints, so enthralled with His grace and humbled by His free gift of salvation? And what does He think of more developed love from saints who have been walking along with Him for many years? Is it richer, or just different? The quality of my love and appreciation for Him has certainly changed since I was saved as a child. Now there is a tinge of heartache as I realize the depth of my sins, so black against the snowy backdrop of His holiness; the rich timbre of my worship, a response to the multitudinous graces He has extended me over time; sorrows over lost time that should have been spent serving Him; prayerful "abiding" as I go about my days work.