This Valentine’s Day I spent the day a little different. I spent this morning reflecting on the love I have for God.. and Gods love for me. If you know me at all, you know that I love love. I love it. I love romance, and flowers, chocolates, and sweet words. I love cheesy love movies, and rom coms, and over the top romance novels. I usually spend today thinking about love with a boy, with my significant other. I usually spend today thinking what he will surprise me with, where we will go to dinner, what I will wear.. and all the mushy lovey dovey stuff in between it all. Lately though, I have been feeling something different. An itch maybe. A tingle… to be close to God. To really be a better Christian. I admit I’m not a very good Christian at all actually. There is a long list of things I need to work on before I think I could even come close to calling myself a good Christian. But when I say I want to be a better Christian I’m saying I want to live life like Jesus did. I believe God calls us when he knows we are straying.. does little things to guide us back on the right path. God must really love me because somehow he always places either a person in my life who is of faith and also has a desire to be close to God (Ahem, Lilly, Jeremy, Jullie, and Hayden to name a few), or maybe a book someone left on my bookshelf to be read, like the book i recently picked up off my bookshelf Blue Like Jazz (Thanks Julles ;)).. This is one of the reasons God amazes me.. Not everyone knows all the wrong things I’ve done.. but God definitely knows every single last one of them.. and yet He doesn’t judge me, or turn His back on me (like so many of who I thought were my friends, did , no hard feelings though) He continues to love me every single day, helping me, sending me a life line every time I get too deep in the ocean of darkness. There is no limit for him, no “three strikes you’re out!” , He just keeps on giving even if I don’t deserve it. Which is why it is easy to understand why some people, including myself, find it hard to believe or accept… For some reason this quote popped in my head the other day while reading the book Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (such a good read, i recommend it to all of you!), “We accept the love we think we deserve” I think i finally understand this. It really resonated with me.. Do we only accept a small portion of Gods love because that is all we think we deserve? Or maybe that is why some or maybe even all of us at some point push God away because He is so good to us and we are so undeserving? I want to accept all of Gods love. And I know now that is the only way we will be able to fully love him, “… by accepting Gods love for us, we fall in love with Him….. In exchange for our humility and willingness to accept the charity of God, we are given a kingdom. And a beggars’s kingdom is better than a proud man’s delusion.”
I guess what I am really reflecting on today is love and do I know love? I sure thought I did.. but lately each day I have begun to think that maybe I don’t know what true love is after all. Or maybe I am fixating my knowledge on love on just one aspect of it.. one side to love. And if I do not know love then I do not know God.. do you follow me? 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Perhaps I have been fixating on only one part of God, one side… most likely it is the side I want to see and know.. the part that relates to me. But If I do not look at the whole I will always have my doubts and confusion not only about love but my faith in God. Because true love is God.. not what i receive on Valentine’s day, to put it plain.
In Blue Like Jazz, Donald tells a beautiful story about a Navy SEAL freeing some hostages. When the SEALs got there, the hostages (who had been imprisoned there for months) were in a filthy dark room huddled up in a corner, terrified. The SEALs tried calling to the hostages that they were being rescued and to follow them to the helicopter. The hostages, as you can image, were terrified and not of “healthy mind” .. frozen in fear, they did not move when the SEALs called out to them, they did not even believe they were really Americans coming to save them. One of the SEALs had an idea of what to do. “He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened his look on his face and put his arms around them. He was trying to show them he was one of them… The Navy SEAL whispered that they were Americans and were there to rescue them. Will you follow us?….” Soon after one by one the hostages stood to their feet and followed the SEALs, and they all made it safely to the American aircraft carrier. This story instinctively reminded me, and obviously reminded Donald as well, of Jesus and how he asks us to follow him..
“When I understood that the decision to follow Jesus was very much like the decision the hostages had to make to follow their rescuer, I knew then that I needed to decide whether or not I would follow Him. The decision was simple once I asked myself, Is Jesus the Son of God, are we being help captive in a world run by Satan, a world filled with brokenness, and do I believe Jesus can rescue me from this condition? ”
And yes, I choose to follow Jesus. I choose to love all of God, and accept all of His love for me.