God is love. I’ve been told that all my life. God loves me, no matter what. That, too. And yet . . .
There’s a line from Michael Card’s song “Chorus of Faith” that goes:
He (meaning God) cannot love more and will not love less.
I remember the first time I thought about those words. I was in high school probably. Or maybe early college. I had no problem with the end of the sentence. The idea that God didn’t have to love me, but chose to anyway, fit neatly into my theology.
The first part, though? Man, I couldn’t quite get that. Surely God could love me more if I were a better person, couldn’t He? I mean, if I were more righteous and more honoring to my parents and got up earlier to read my bible more and all those other things that good Christians do more that I did, wouldn’t He love me more?
Honestly, I still struggle with that. Like the Prodigal Son’s older brother, I want to be celebrated because I’ve done so much for my Father. I forget that all the while, as I’m being busy trying to do, do, do so His love for me might grow, grow, grow, He’s right there loving me more than I can even imagine, and I’m missing it! I’ve so burdened myself with what I think He wants from me that I can’t receive the love He wants to give me.
To love God with all your heart and mind and strength is very important. So is loving your neighbor as you love yourself. These things are more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12:33, NIrV)
The reality is: It is finished! Jesus did it all already. There is nothing else I need to do, nothing else I can do, nothing else God is waiting for me to do, but let Him love me. That is all He wants from me. Not that I follow all the rules (whose rules?), not that I believe exactly the right doctrine (which doctrine?), but to let Him love me, let myself love Him back, and let His love flow out of me to the people around me.
You’ve made it so simple for us. Yet, I want it to be more difficult. I want it to be about me instead of about You. I want to be able to earn Your grace, rather than take charity. I want to figure out all the rules and follow them and pull myself up by my bootstraps. Until I don’t. Until the pain and the sorrow and the evil in this world overwhelm me and I realize I can’t do it on my own. I need You. And if the only way to get to You is to let You come to me, to tear down my defenses, and give You access to the deepest hurts inside my soul, I need to stop trying so hard to avoid the weakness and the vulnerability of being human and being loved. To allow You in my life as You are: Healer, Savior, King.