I threw away an old candy box today. No one else probably remembers the significance of this box… But I do. It signifies love felt deeply. It signifies hope. It signifies dreams. It signifies loss. It signifies disappointments. It signifies joy, yet it signifies sadness. That is a whole lot for one little paper box to carry around. It is one of those things that I am finally making an effort to let go of, and I don’t let go of things easily. But now is time, I suppose…
When I love, I love hard. I love deeply. I love completely. I love to the inside-out of those that I love. I accept them as they are, warts and all. (And hey, we all have warts.) When you love that way, it is so, so hard to say done, to accept loss, to force your heart to look away, to not feel what you feel naturally and to pretend that the big empty space in your heart is nothing out of the ordinary. It is hard to let love go, no matter how it departs.
I think, a lot of times, due to the way we look at the word “love” with the frail, human heart, we don’t really get it. We associate so many things that have nothing to do with the reality of love to that state. In our “give it to me now” culture, we miss out on so many nuances of relationship by speeding past them, sticking our noses up at them, or just ignoring them. Love is not all sunshine and hearts and flowers. Sometimes it is confusing, difficult and hard. The words love and life can be interchanged there. Neither of them are pretty all the time, with those sunshine, hearts and flowers. In every life there are confusing, difficult and hard times.
If you truly look at God’s greatest act of love toward humanity, it is not pretty. It is ugly and hard and difficult to comprehend. In John, chapter 19, we see the reality of this ugliness. Even though Pilate found no fault in Jesus, the “crowd” wanted what they wanted… and they demanded it immediately. They had been convinced that this was what their hearts wanted, the death of Jesus, even though just days before multitudes of these same people, were enamored by Him, praising Him as their Deliverer. How quickly does our infatuation fade? He was beaten, he was mocked, he was humiliated. Even when the mob was given an “out,” they refused. Their passions were so involved by this time that they could not make a rational decision. The the mob frenzy took control. (Reference John 19:1-30)
So… Um… Wait… Seriously? “Where exactly do you find love in all that mess?” you may ask. The greatest act of love for humanity comes in John 19:30. “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” The Roman soldiers did not “kill” Jesus. They tried. They tried with all they had in them. They failed. Jesus “gave” His life, willingly. It was not taken from Him. He gave it in sacrificial love for the redemption of human life.
It is that love that gives us hope. It is that love on which our earthly love should be based — the love of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 13 gives us a guideline for real love. In living it out, we find that love shows patience, even in turmoil. It shows kindness even in difficult situations. Love does not always have to have its way or be the center of attention. Love honors others, and does not see for itself. When we truly love, our anger can be tempered and we can refrain from keeping score. Love does not rejoice over bad or evil things that happen to others. It holds truth in high stead. Love protects everything about those that it encircles. It trusts simply and hopes for the best. Love sticks stuck and does not leave you in a bind! (Yes, I meant to say, “sticks stuck!”)
We butcher love quite badly some times. We rush in when we should take slow, measured steps. We sometimes love because we don’t want to be alone. We judge when we should withhold judgement. We make assumptions based on what is in our hearts instead of trying to seek what is in the other person’s heart. We manufacture emotion because it is what we want at the moment, not considering what the future might hold. And sometimes we just change our mind because we can. The state of human love can be quite unloving.
I’m not sure where I was going with this when I started, other than I think I was just sad and wanted to say so. Even through sadness, healing does come, and my healing will come. But, from grinding through thoughts about love, I do realize that God’s love is much more secure than our attempts at love. He will not break our hearts. They are completely secure with Him. He may break our spirit from time to time, but He is going to stick with us forever and will not let go of one of His. He will lead us and guide us, if we only trust Him.
Have you trusted Him? I mean, truly trusted Him? Have you made a decision “about” God without making a decision “for” God? There is a difference. If you ask most people, they may respond that they believe in God, that He is “out there” somewhere. Our culture is making it less popular to believe in “the Jesus” thing though. The seriousness of the days we are living in make it urgent that we speak the story of Jesus, the Gospel of Jesus, that we tell people about Him. Of ourselves, we do not have the ability to save one soul. All we can do is point them to Jesus. Jesus, God’s only Son, is the only One that can save. Jesus explained it to Nicodemus like this:
“I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the One who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.“ (John 3:12-18 NIV)
We may fail at love, but God will never fail. Trust Him with your eternity! Look for God’s love above all.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1 John 4:7 KJV)
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 KJV)
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV)