I write not because I am an authority on this subject, neither do I write to prove that I have arrived at a full understanding of what it means to be loved by God. As a matter of honestly, if my journey over the years is anything to reckon with, I have been in situations that didn’t look anything like love. I have journeyed the journey of doubt and despair. My path has been dotted with lots of fear and hopelessness of the gravest kinds. So, how dare I write about the love of God?
If you are like me, who sometimes bend to the suggestions of my beaten humanity, the first thing I may want to tell you about God’s love is that it doesn’t make any sense. Although I had learned to recite John 3:16 from as far back as my primary school days, I find that I am unable to give a more tenable explanation to God's kind of love, especially as expressed towards me.
Am I suggesting that God does not love? Or, that I don’t believe He loves me? Not at all! What I’m saying in essence is, He loves differently. And “different” is not always the way we humans like to work. We love the usual and the convenient. We love the ability to work out the equations in our minds and arrive at a predictable outcome. Simply put, we love to be in control. And this brings me to the first lesson I had to learn about love. Especially the God kind. And it is that Love relinquishes all control!
The first time I encountered 2 Corinthians 5:14 was no fun at all, especially as rendered by the Amplified version. The scripture reads thus “For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that one died for all therefore all died.” I didn’t understand why love would control and compel. This for me only meant that I didn’t have the right to live the way I wanted to. In fact, verse 15 told us that “He died for all so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake. Is this some kind of manipulation or what?
The journey to uncovering that piece of scripture has taken my entire life to this day. I am still traveling on that journey. But one day it dawned on me that I didn’t have a life, and He gave his so that I could live again. And if all that is required of me is to live for him, then it must be for the reason that I don’t lose it again. John 3:16 puts it succinctly.
It is easy for us to go our own ways, and intelligently work out the plans for our lives till all we see reflect the desires in our hearts. But I have also learned that God’s love for us is majorly demonstrated in trust. First, the trust of life, then the trust for the reason he gave us life. Adam was trusted with the image and the likeness of God to the degree to which God wanted him to replicate the life in the Garden of Eden all over the earth. But that trust came with constraints; not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden. God knew that Adam’s partaking of that tree would ultimately jeopardize the purpose for which he was trusted with that quality of life. But trust had God leave the tree there.
So, how often have you felt like the constraints in your life are proof that you are not loved by God? I have felt the same way. You see, the God kind of love is not only concerned about giving us what we want, but what is best for us. And although we may find ourselves within the vicinity of what we think is good for us, the love of God ultimately determines when and how we should partake of that provision. I have no doubt in my heart that God intended for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to serve Adam and his wife, but only within a predetermined context.
When God leads us in seemingly unpleasant situations, it is also because he trusts us not to interfere, or alter the process by our personalities. So, next time you think about the love of God, and how that it doesn’t make any ‘logical sense’, think about the amount of trust he has bestowed on you, and you’ll always find your way back to what is ultimately important. This has been my journey.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28