Around 2000 years ago, a religious leader asked Jesus which was the greatest Commandment in the Jewish Law. He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Ever since, the church has emphasized loving God as fundamentally central to Christian faith. Even today, faith is born, nurtured, and fueled by the knowledge that God loves us.
Belief in God’s love is not grounded on emotions; it is a fundamental tenet of Christian faith. Nevertheless, there will be days—perhaps even now—when we are tempted to question this truth because of how we feel. However, these are the times we must dig deep and recall God’s loving faithfulness in years gone by.
Do we choose to still love God when all we see and feel seems to contradict such beliefs? Do we still love God when we can’t understand his ways… when our hearts were crushed because he didn’t answer our prayers? To choose love in spite of such seeming contradictions is no small thing. When we do, a strange thing happens… we begin to discover God’s love afresh… no longer as just a doctrine but also a daily living reality.
It is in our dark nights when knowledge of God’s love is put to the ultimate test. When devastation strikes we often feel helpless; we think we can’t survive the loss of our child, the death of our spouse, or whatever else we treasure. When our pain and sorrow are more than we know how to bear, earthly desperation is birthed as God’s love feels utterly absent.
However, if we choose to trust God through the darkness and if we learn to love him in spite of our loss, he proves himself as our Source and Provider. In these times we re-discover how much we truly need him and we finally understand how completely lost we are without his loving presence.
Such awareness unveils a new desperation… a shifting of desperation. Sometimes it’s sudden, sometimes it slowly builds but regardless how it dawns we are struck with the understanding of how desperately dependent we are on God. And this becomes the game changer— we are finally empowered to choose holy desperation over earthly desperation.
In this life no one is immune to desperation… no one is exempt from overwhelming situations. But, because of God’s love, we do have a choice in how we respond in times of desperation… and our response makes all the difference in the world. Next week we talk about how God can use our wounded past as a means for bringing healing to others in the midst of their suffering.
What Do You Think?
Why is it important not to confuse the truth of God’s love with the feeling of that love? Why is it critical to hold on to this belief in our dark nights… especially when we feel otherwise?