The Painful Love of God
Feb 14, 2001 (V-Day)

This may not be long, but on the ending of this day of pondering love, I thought it would be appropriate to share just a little of the manifesto in my head and heart.

Over the last two nights, I've heard two Christian speakers. One spoke on love in general: how it relates to couples, how it relates to people in general, and how it relates to people in relationship with God. It was quite the uplifting discussion -- maybe not a lot of new facts, but a new perspective, or just renewal of an old one. Such things as respect, cherishing, devotion, admiration, sacrifice -- these are the sure signs of love, the glue of life.

Tonight, I heard a discussion on the awesomeness of God -- from biology to physics to astronomy to His love for us. Again, it may not have been anything new, but was a renewal of perspective. I need to be reminded of the awesomeness of God's love for us -- for me, for you, for all -- from time to time. It's easy to get bogged down in bitter thoughts or boring thoughts or useless thoughts or futile thoughts. But I truly believe that the thoughts and expressions of love -- pure love, without the human hindrances and questionable motivations -- are the highest goals in life, for God and us. I have always beat myself for the wide-ranging love I feel in my own heart. I have often had the idea that love is the world's greatest curse, because it causes so much frustration.

What I realized tonight is that God is not unaware or unexperienced in this area. When we say that Jesus "suffered the highest price" -- well, I can't relate to that all that well. But thinking from God Almighty's eternal over-all perspective, I can find solace in the thought that God Himself is acquainted with this thing of "unrequited love." Assuming that God gives us humans freewill in order to (hopefully) choose Him, we see that many of God's creations choose to reject that love, to steer as far from God as possible, and in some holy way I believe this breaks God's heart...if this could ever be expressed in an adequate way, it may be the most evangelistic statement ever. God was willing to suffer almost limitless, it seems, unrequited love -- a new vision of his holy or "holey" heart -- in the "hope" that the few with clear sight would choose to return to Him. ("If you love someone, let them go...if they return to you, it is true love; if they don't, it was never love.") I have always, again, beat myself for my thoughts of unrequited love, because I always think that it's not God's will or I don't "deserve" what I can't have or don't get. And perhaps that's true. But the point is that God understands this longing. God understands *my* plight in this world; I always knew this in a formal sort of way, but I'm beginning to understand it better in my heart, not just my head.

Now, in my expressions of bitterness about such subjects, the quaint phrases are always brought out, "Be Mr. Right." "You have to be happy as a single first." "Wait for God's timing." And these are all wonderfully pinpoint accurate, but they really don't deal with the pain at all. Perhaps a realization that God shares this pain in some sense helps. And by thinking in that vein and seeing how patient God is, and how great God's love is, maybe then I can find the strength within me to love the people that I meet, and cherish whatever love they return, whether that be nothing, or a smile, or a lifetime...and to cherish the person in a completely appropriate way even if I am the furthest thing from their mind.