Romans chapter 8 says that nothing can separate us from the love of God – not anything. Not life or death, not angels or demons, not the present or the future, no powers, not height or depth – nothing in all creation is able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. This is one of the most beautiful and reassuring passages in the Bible. But wait – we read this, maybe even memorize it, yet still don’t manage to get it down into our hearts. So many of us, even as believers, have such a horrible misconception of who God is and of how He loves us.
Many of us think of God as a coach – we’re the athlete on His team. When we do well, we feel on top of the world. We can feel His love on those occasions, and we can feel His acceptance and pleasure. But when we do something wrong or have a bad day and do stupid things, then we imagine that He hates us and could never be pleased with us again. Others think of God as an office manager – He will be happy with us if we do the right things, but if we do them wrong or not at all – watch out! He might demote us or fire us, or worse. Still others view God as a prison warden – if we only work hard enough, we might someday please Him and finish our life sentence of paying for our sin.
And then there are those of us who think of God as a father, but refuse to look past a terrible example of a father we might have here on earth. Some people have been abused and manipulated by their fathers (or a father-figure) and can’t imagine that God might be any different.
Add to all of this the fact that most of us have no clue what love even is! Where do we get our idea of “true love?” Well, there are people talking and singing about it everywhere you turn. If you tune in to what the world says about love, you will believe that it is a magical happening, a fuzzy feeling, a biological function, a roller-coaster – all kinds of things but what it actually is. I, for one, find it hard to accept the magazines in the checkout stand as very reliable…should we really look to people who go from one partner to another with no commitment at all as our guides just because they have very white teeth and made a few movies or sang a few songs?
Here is an excellent definition of what love really is – it is a choice for someone else’s highest good. Love is a conscious act of the will. It is not a feeling at all – it is a decision that is acted upon. True love, then, is consistently and constantly choosing for someone else’s highest good.
As a mother, I understand this in a way I never could before my children were born. I love my girls – they are grown now and are both very considerate and caring people. However, when they were growing up, they (like all of us) had their moments and were sometimes just plain mean to each other or to me. Now, I sometimes felt angry at them when that happened, and I certainly disciplined them when they needed it, but that doesn’t at all negate the fact that I love them very much. I can’t stop loving them when they do something wrong – they are my children. The times when they don’t act rightly just challenge me all the more to help them learn to be the women of God that they were created to be.
If I am like this with my children, how much more is the Lord towards us? The Lord of Heaven and Earth has pledged to love us with an everlasting love. The creator of the universe chooses to love us! God is True Love – what we’ve all been looking for all this time. Everyday, forever, He chooses for our highest good – for all of us, all over the planet.
The world is so crazy and so dark – we’ve seen over the last few years that nothing at all on this earth is certain. Terrorists blow things up, greedy people ruin financial markets, big storms come and wipe away entire cities. We can lose our jobs, our riches, our homes…we can lose our health, our freedom, even our lives. But nothing – nothing – can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
I will end this with a prayer from Ephesians chapter 3 – “I pray that you being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Knowledge like this will change your life…and your neighbor’s.
– Mary Gautreaux