Love is a concept/experience/lifestyle that is central to understanding the Gospel. “For God so loved the world…” “Love the LORD your God…” “They’ll know you’re my disciples is you love one another…” For all the talk of love in the Bible (at least 686 mentions) I don’t feel I understand it very well – particularly not God’s love for me.
I get Jesus as King, that makes sense to me and I could preach it all day. But Jesus as Bridegroom, Jesus as Lover? I feel like a fish trying to climb a tree.
My initial reaction to the unknown is to study. I thought, I’m going to look up every verse on love, study the context and implications and learn how to love God and people. And God, in His infinite gentleness reminded me that I can know why something is and still not know what it is.
For instance, I could give you a lecture on the Aurora Borealis. I could tell you what the name means, the detailed scientific explanation of how the electrically charged particles from the sun interact with the Earth’s magnetic field to create the various hues of color. You would have an in depth understanding of why this event occurs. But I would argue you don’t know what the Northern Lights really are until you’ve stood on a frosty plain in the middle of the night and seen this cascade of colors transform a barren landscape into an ethereal paradise. There would be a gap between your understanding and your experience.
That is how it is with me and the love of God. Cognitavely, I get it, but I feel like I still haven’t surrendered myself to the full experience. And to continue in this vein of honesty, I’m not really sure how to.
When I was 11, I had a tremendous encounter with God that changed the course of my life. A camp counselor had prayed for me and Holy Spirit decided to stop by for a visit. Without expectation or warning, I was suddenly in the midst of an encounter with the love of God. I remember weeping openly, totally undone. I was so transformed that I committed myself to serving God from that time forward. I feel like I’ve been chasing that encounter and looking for the Presence of God ever since.
I’m aware of the fact that I’m trying too hard and I need to let this love just happen, like I did when I was 11. Unfortunately, that is much harder said than done. If anyone has any tips on how you connect with God and feel His love, I would appreciate hearing from you. Have a great weekend everyone!