How do we love?
We cannot love ideas that float lofty above us, because they have no purchase here in the paths we walk. True love is not infatuation with an idea or a lust for something our flesh can’t grasp.
We love truly when it brushes up against us in our real life and makes itself known. When it finds a place in us and we choose it day after day.
We cannot love what we do not know for that is but a silly crush. A schoolgirl’s first blush, still in pigtails; feelings and fascination with love when her first kiss is years away. And that fades after the vows and trials. That fades when the hard comes. And it always comes.
We love when God comes down and pushes up close, in our own personal space, invading our souls. When He truly reigns, He fills the space, pushing from us the dross. And in that process, the leaking of the remnants of our former self, the new creation in process, it’s a messy business.
Anyone who has walked with God, fallen to their knees or called upon grace to lift them out of their own desperation, will know that God uses all things. Painful, messy, glorious things. That no tear is wasted. No anguish is untouchable to Him that heals.
I believe He does not just allow the hard. He doesn’t stand back and casually watch the suffering take place like some impotent being, unable to rescue and ransom us. No, I believe much of the hard, He specially crafts and places it in our moments and allows us to seek Him and Him alone because we can only understand our loss in light of His glory. For us, to die is gain. It’s foolishness without the gospel.
I have witnessed mothers weeping for their lost child, taken before their time. Grieving and in desperation and yet still from their mouths, praise. For they have nothing if not Christ.
I have seen marriages on the cusp of despair. The covenant lying in ruins at the discovery of text messages and wedding vows forgotten and eyes that wandered far from their first love, and I have seen redemption that only God could bring. New life from the mess, the dross pushed out.
I have heard of martyrs trapped in their dying bodies. Frail and worn and suffering as they serve and still for their faith proclaiming the cross. And they turn from despondency,when life gets harder, because they know truth. We are called home.
I have known perfect life laid down in service, bound to cross and bleeding, eyes lifted to heaven and surrendered to pure love .
Perfect love doesn’t back down. It casts out all fear because there is no end to it, it will never falter.
And when we make a claim to perfect love; when we as the church claim that we embrace God, are we not fused in?
We are yoked with the hard, the anguish, the burdens, and the broken ugly of the church. We are not just asked, but required to see her as He does. Being washed and purified by Him.
We don’t really have a choice and I was wrong to think that as a follower of Him, I did. Because it is not optional.
We cannot love God and not love the church that He died for.
So I ask, who is the church that He died for?