Love – pure love – is a hotly sought after goal for most people. When I was a child, I dreamed of meeting my perfect “Prince Charming,” that fairy tale love who rode in like a knight in perfectly polished, gleaming armor riding in to swoop me up and on to the back of his white horse. He would profess his undying, everlasting love to me as we trotted across the glittering white sands of the beach as the ocean rolled into the shoreline with picture-perfect waves. His proposal for marriage would also be perfect. He would find the most romantic of romantic places, and with lovely music playing, he would get down on one knee and tell me that I must agree to be his wife forever because he could not possibly live without me. Our royal wedding would be one that could never, ever be matched. Thousands upon thousands of candles would cast light into the magnificent cathedral as I walked down the aisle to meet my Prince Charming and start my life as his treasured, adored Princess. My life, our lives, would continue on as the most perfect fairy tale forever entwined in the saying: “And, they lived happily ever after.”
And, of course, my actual life turned out exactly that way, right? Not! We have these wild fantasies that play out in our lives about just what love is. Maybe you’ve actually not had your love fantasy, but I for sure did. Perhaps that fantasy is helped along by age-old fairy tales, Disney movies, love novels, music, and other sources. Perhaps it’s partly cooked up in our minds. However we get our own notion about what true love is, life has a way of presenting us with a hard reality. That reality can be quite a wake-up call for each of us.
I believe that we all strive to love and be loved by another. And, some of us will go to great strides to make that love happen. We may picture that even the person who is a diamond-in-the-rough will become flawless by the time we are done trimming, honing and polishing that diamond into our ultimate perfect form. Also not very realistic is it? At least that’s how I thought it would work. Let me speak from experience here, it doesn’t work that way. No matter how much you love someone they won’t change into becoming your ideal person unless they themselves want to. Love, the kind of love between two people, can never be perfect, because we ourselves are not perfect.
There’s only one truly perfect love that exists. That’s the pure love of God, and it’s been demonstrated for us in the life of Christ. It’s His expression of love for each and everyone of His children to be in a right relationship with Him, in His perfect, agape love. The love that never, ever changes, never grows weary, never gets grumpy, never is self-focused. The love that is always perfect. What we can never achieve on our own, God achieves. It’s that love for us that sent our Savior to do for us that which we could not do for ourselves. It’s that agape love that volunteered to suffer the most cruel excruciating death ever invented, the execution that was reserved for criminals, so that we could be made right with God. To be willing to take the place of another in a cruel death to me has to be the ultimate expression of love.
And, while God perfectly loves us, we cannot perfectly love Him unless we know Him. When I fell deeply in love with my husband, it was after spending time with Jim, interacting with him. Getting to know him better, understanding what makes his tick. But, just like in my relationships with people, I can’t grow in my love with God if I don’t spend time with Him, getting to know Him. I find that the best examples of the lengths that God goes for us is right there for us to see in His Word. Jesus fed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, had compassion for others, shared knowledge of God, and of course gave up his own life – all in the name of perfect, agape love. Spend time in the Bible, you’ll see timeless stories of how God demonstrates His love for His children. From creation, to delivery from slavery, to protection, to blessings, to correction, God’s love story is right there for all to see. His Holy Spirit lives within us, increasing wisdom in our lives, and growing His love in our heart.
Want to know love, real love? Spend time with God in prayer, read the Bible, seek out His wisdom. Ask Him to show you how to love Him. I know this, in this life I will never live happily ever after. But, in my next life, my eternal life in Heaven in the presence of Jesus – that’s where I know I will find my true destiny – the perfect happily-ever-after.
Do you have any insights about God’s love that you can share?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17, ESV)
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, ESV)
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10, ESV)
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” (Psalm 63:3, ESV)