A Perfect Love…
As we are entering into what many of us call ‘Easter Week’, where do you find your thoughts? There will be many who are getting ready for families gathering together. Many who do not celebrate and will go about their lives in the usual fashion. Easter will come and go just like any other Sunday. Some will take to the road and begin their travels giving them plenty of time to reflect on the road traveled not so far from here. For me, my thoughts usually gather in the same place every year about this time. I think the closer we get to Easter and the significance of what it really means, what really happened invites us all to reflect on a love that few, if any can truly wrap their minds around.
When you think of the word ‘LOVE’ what do you think of? How do you define it? The dictionary defines love as ‘a strong and constant affection for a person.’ I would say that is pretty accurate in today’s terms. Sometimes it is hard to separate the ‘feeling’ from the ‘choice’. I think that more often than not we are finding headlines in the news or social media showing us that by today’s standards LOVE has become a statistic instead of a promise. Every time you turn around you are facing the inevitable “they don’t love me anymore…” It could be through a song, a movie, a letter, but no matter what I think the fear of becoming unloved resides in all of us. I think it may be triggered by the lies we tend to believe of never feeling good enough. In today’s times we have been trained to believe that love is fleeting, don’t hold on too tight because before you know it, it will be gone. Many think love is earned, or granted upon being selected into a category many dream of but few rise to. Whatever the case, I think love has been jaded and replaced by lust. Lust for that which we do not have, but is wanted for the taking. Lust for being able to recognize the difference for that which really isn’t but if we push hard enough perhaps we will find it?
Yes, love is a feeling. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It can be the beautiful result of a taste, a touch, a song, a smell, a scene in your book of life. Love can tend to either drive you onward or impair you to the point of becoming still. Stuck. It can blind you and it can allow you to see things through fresh eyes. Sometimes I get caught up in the inadequate ways I display love and realize that regardless of my feeble attempts it has been impressed upon me that behind every act of love is a shield of grace. I say ‘shield’ because many times we use our love as arrows to shoot into the spirit of another whether intentional or not, love can be your greatest gift, or a most definite infliction of pain. What about you? What does love look like to you? It saddens me to hear stories of those that have never experienced love in its most pure form. To hear stories of those whose “love” came at the end of someone’s fist. Or through daggers of hateful things being spewed towards them. To some, love was actually abuse and unless they have felt it in its most hateful form, it was never there at all. Some will continue in this life always wondering what true love feels like, but I want to impart on those few the definition of a love outside of a dictionary.
A few thousand years ago, Love came into this world in the form of a new born baby. Born into filth and humility it was a love that would cover the span of generations and time. In one instant the world went from dark to light. From hoping for a Redeemer to an actual Savior in the flesh. If you have ever given birth, you will understand what instantaneous, indescribable, profound, and complete love is. How is it even possible to love someone that much? Can you imagine giving birth to the One who from that moment on will teach you and actually define what true love is? I am sure all of us have at some point tried our very best to love in the only ways we knew how. We are all capable of giving love. To a husband, a wife, a child, a sibling, a friend, etc….few are truly capable of receiving it. Harsh, but true. Love is a gift. If you have never in your life tasted true love, let me paint this picture for you. No one human in this life will be able to fill your need for love. We are all unique and all desire and require different levels. But you see, God knew this. It is no surprise to Him.
A long time ago, love, wrapped in a humble manger grew into something more. Much more. God not only sent His Son to save us, but to demonstrate love in its most raw and unfathomable form. To be born to die is one thing, but to redefine love through an undeserved death is another. Here is what Love looks like to Jesus. He stood before a crowd of haters and knew that the very words He spoke would bring about His suffering and death. He chose to speak them anyway. He knew that every step He took closer to the cross would mean that suffering beyond description waited for Him. With every strike upon His back, thorn upon His head, tears that turned to blood, step after step, it wasn’t just a cross He carried it was every burden you ever bore. When He could no longer stand against the weight of the beatings and dehydration, He found it somewhere in Him to once again walk that road so that we wouldn’t have to. Love was redefined that day. Love went from being a feeling, a word, to an actual choice. An act. A sacrifice probably none of us would choose to do, but more than that it was made by a Man who did not deserve any of it. The very next time you find yourself complacent and pondering the very definition of love, remember the cross. Not just because it is Easter and it is easy to reflect. Two pieces of simple wood nailed together held the Redeemer and Savior of the world. A mother watched in complete, helpless horror as her baby, her Son hung there, dying sin’s death so that we wouldn’t have to. An act of love so severe and if that were not enough, He took the stripes upon His back, His legs, His shoulders. Blow after blow, His blood did not just cover the street, the cross, but it covered us. It redeemed us. The blood of Jesus and the nails that held Him to a cross that should have been ours is the most precious act of love anyone could ever know. Jesus didn’t just look out across the crowd and into the immediate faces around Him. He saw the faces of all of us and He said in one final breath, “It is finished.” It is said that Love can be the deepest hurt one can ever feel, but there is a perfect love just waiting to be had. It is there and someday when I touch the scars of Jesus and look into the eyes that beheld mine on the cross that day so many years ago, in one instant I will behold an indescribable, incomparable, perfect love.