The Love of God
Between the theme of anthems this year and the topic of the 40 Day Devotional for 2022, I’ve been doing a lot of study and writing about the love of God over the past 18 months. There’s an old song Joni Mitchell wrote that says, “I’ve looked at love from both sides now…” and while I don’t agree with most of the what follows those lines, I do understand, in part, the statement, “I really don’t know love at all.”
However, I don’t echo that phrase in a negative way, but more in keeping with the feeling of this anthem: that the theme of the love of God is so vast that in our lifetimes we will not be able, with our feeble minds and limited experiences, to fathom the immensity of the love of God. It is quite possible that it will take all of eternity to explore the depths of it. For while we will finally “with unveiled faces” glimpse up close and in person the wonders of that love, in our glorified bodies we will still not be omniscient. Our capacity to understand will be enhanced but still not as unlimited as God’s. I believe His eternal wonders will unfold before us over those endless days with renewed and expanded awe and worship, including the enormity of His love.
We will with sharper vision begin to grasp the cavernous gulf between our desert of God’s love and our receipt of it. We will fathom the depths of our unholiness and what it cost Him to take that filth upon Himself in order to remove it from us. Gone will be our propensity to self-justify, and the pride that shrouded our eyes from how vile our arrogance and rebellion was in the eyes of God. And yet, we will also view with clearer eyes the height and depth and length and breadth of the love He holds for us—the love that led Him to give His very life. It will blow us away. It is no wonder that heaven is full of crown-casting, face-planting scenes of humble-but-ecstatic worship!
But we needn’t be satisfied with what we know now. And we needn’t to settle for the mere anticipation of what we will know then. Our knowledge and experience of this rich and pure and measureless and kind love can indeed deepen and widen while we walk this earth. It is like we have been presented with this sublime and enormous cake. We don’t have the capacity to eat it all ourselves in one sitting, but neither need we just sit and stare at it in anticipation of the day when our capacity will be increased. Nor must we merely snitch a fingertip morsel of the sweet icing from time to time, and allow that to suffice.
No! The Lord who provided this for us invites us to cut off for ourselves a generous slice, and partake of it daily, bite after bite. We need never fear it running out or of us becoming satiated by it to the point of boredom. The “cake” of His love He has gifted us has the wonderful quality of both satisfying us and making us hungry for more. It delights our taste buds with its sweetness, but with each successive morsel it tunes ourselves more and more to its delights so that we hunger for it more and more.
In this world there are many dark substitutes for God’s love—impostors which cause addictions which grossly fail in their promise to satisfy, yet which cause us to spiral deeper into the clutches of the abyss of addiction. This is the enemy’s mockery of the one and only thing which when indulged in the most often satisfies the more completely with each “hit”—the love of God!
Throughout my writings about the love of God over the past year I have repeated the verse from Psalm 107:43. I don’t do this to be redundant, but because it is such a vital key for us to truly know and experience this love in this world—to cut off our generous slice of this delicacy and enjoy it to the fullness we are capable of in this world, to experience the abundant life Jesus promised those who will abide in His love:
“Whoever is wise, let him heed these things (the teaching of this psalm) and consider (ponder) the great (steadfast) love of the Lord.”
Or, as the Amplified version puts it:
“Who is wise? Let him observe and heed these things; And [thoughtfully] consider the lovingkindness of the Lord.”
We were created because of this love. We were redeemed, forgiven, and drawn to God by this love. We are taught, walked with, strengthened, and united to the Lord by this love. Each breath we breathe and heartbeat we feel in our chests is by this love. Each promise in the Scripture is delivered to us and will be fulfilled to and in us by this love. It is our sustenance and joy in this life, and our hope, surety and fulfillment for the next. It indwells us through the Spirit of Love, who longs to make it known to us in ever more vibrant experience, if only we will give ourselves to His work. Like Paul we would do well to pray that the Lord would strengthen us with power in our inner beings through His Spirit so that we can know this love which surpasses all knowledge, so we can be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:14-20). There is so much more for us than what we currently possess, but it is for us to access with greater depth by the Lord who does exceedingly abundantly beyond all we can ask or imagine. So, let us not fail to access this delicacy so graciously offered to us—dig in! Delight in a full slice!