We talk comfortably about God’s blanket of love that covers everything. We mistakenly do this, because we think it is easy for God to love us. We think it is easy for God to graciously love, love, love us even though we sin and transgress against Him and we are rebellious to His purposes and desires. We might even mistakenly believe it was easy for Him to send Christ as a sacrifice for our transgressions and rebelliousness.
But what we don’t understand is how God has pursued us – a rebellious people. In any relationship, when one party is flagrantly disrespectful of the others’ love, it is most difficult and painful for the one who must try to take a valiant stance for truth and love.
Have you ever had someone in your life you’ve tried to love and to have a close relationship with, but who doesn’t seem the least bit interested in a relationship with you? They spurn your efforts and advances, mistake your motives, and rail against all that you do. So you steel yourself to it. You try harder and you try again. You commit yourself to love them more this time, and value them and talk with them and forgive them yet again, all the while desiring to develop a meaningful, truly connected relationship, where you, as well as them, are heard and valued.
Then sometimes you’re at the place where you say to yourself, “I give up. I can’t do this anymore.”
Do you ever suddenly remember, Oh my gosh, God is not like that with us ever, until the very end. God keeps loving, keeps reaching, keeps relentlessly intersecting our path, wherever we are.
That’s what His love means. His love isn’t about syrupy, sweet love in a relationship where it’s easy to love the other side. His love is about the difficulty of loving rebellious people who don’t seek to return His love and hear Him out. His love is about the difficulty of loving a people that seek their own way and simply try to add His love on top like a cherry. His love is about loving people that don’t see the chasm up ahead of them, they keep going in the same direction, bound for an empty eternity, because they are bound and determined to achieve what they are after and not seek the purposes of God.
God’s love is a difficult and painful love. That is truly love. We love others when it is easy. Or we love others in ways that make us feel good about ourselves. Occasionally, we try hard to love someone who spurns our best efforts at a real relationship with them. This is when we most love like God loves. Because God loves when it is most hard and difficult.
The evidence that I know what love is and what sin is – is when I begin to comprehend how difficult it is for God to love and pursue me. I begin to see that I am a difficult person to love. He doesn’t love me because I’m easy to love and a wonderful person, He loves me the times that I have turned away from Him and spurned Him; He loves me when I am most difficult to love, most stubborn, most stuck in my own pursuits, and most clueless about everything, particularly His love for me.
I get caught up in my wishes and desires, not His. I get caught up in my plans, purposes, and pursuits, not His. These are the things that kill any relationship.
Slowly, I begin to know the price that it cost God to pursue me and bridge the chasm. Briefly, I begin to glimpse how insidious, deceiving, pervasive, life-destroying, relationship-killing, and self-promoting this obsession with myself (sin and rebellion) is. I begin to see how my sin affects my relationship with God. And still His love propels Him to pursue me, teach me, and seek my loving response.
And I begin to realize that God is the one who loves perfectly. He loves us when we are most difficult to love and most clueless about what a love-relationship is.
May I not grumble when I have to love another, who is just like me in their blindness and cluelessness.
May I remember and begin to comprehend, God’s relentless, patient, but fervent-for-a-right-response-from me, love.