“You are the finest, the loveliest, tenderest, most beautiful person I have ever met- and even that is an understatement”. – F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Our culture today doesn’t know how to love. How do I come to such a conclusion as bold as this one? Hear me out. 60% of college students will participate in the hookup culture, where sex is causal and relationships are optional. A lot of empty souls and broken hearts are searching for something called love. Sex is not love. Our society has hyper-sexualized love and relationships. I also don’t think love is texting back or swiping right on Tinder. No, love has to be more complex than that. Unfortunately, love in our society is not everlasting. The divorce rate in America is 48%. Many marriages don’t even last more than a couple of years.It saddens my heart to see parents divorce after just a few years of marriage and then for years afterwards drag their children through custody battles. I hope that love is more than what our society claims it is. Maybe I don’t know what love is and maybe I do, but to me love is multifaceted. There are many components that factor in the abstract concept of love. What is love? I have said what it is not. Then what is it exactly?
Unconditional love: is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves
“I loved you at your darkest” -Romans 5:8
I crave love. I don’t think I am alone. In fact, I think it is a human trait to desire love. When I think of the crazy things our society will do for love. Everyone craves love. Not just love that hangs around in the evening and leaves in the morning, but an unconditional love. We all want love. Lets be honest no one says to themselves, “My goal is to die alone and unloved”. NO. People are wired for love.Love is splashed everywhere in pop culture today. It is in the music we listen to, the tabloid covers we scan while standing in line at the grocery store, our never ending social media news-feed, the movies and tv shows we watch, and daily news gossip. Love is desired everywhere. It is how we were created.It is how we were created by our creator. Why would God put this desire of love so deeply rooted into the human soul? Well, hang on and keep reading. It is natural to want love. Love is fascinating and breath taking. It motivates like nothing else. Love is the reason why my parents would drive nearly three hours just to have lunch with me on a cold Saturday.Love is the reason why someone would risk their own safety and well being to help a friend in need. Love is the reason why we make sacrifices. The law of reciprocity, (which applies in EVERY culture on the face of the earth), simply explains that that when someone gives you something you feel an obligation to give back. Giving and receiving favors is a common exchange and is an implicit assumption in most of our relationships.Though at the end of the day I have many friends and family who loved me I felt alone. I want be number one, a top priority, to someone. What is this piece of me that is missing?, I thought over and over in my head. I life a wonderful life. I am happy, but when I lay my head down at night I needed something more. I crave to be loved unconditionally without ceasing. Then it hit me. What I crave is something no person could ever give me. The void of love in my life could not have been filled with another flawed human like me. No I needed something greater. Love is the reason why we need God. We crave an unconditional love that only he can provide. I needed God to fill the hole. All the lies about what love is by our society, especially in college, were finally debunked in my eyes. Once I realized that the next step was reading all the love he has for me through the love letters he wrote to me called the Bible, and nothing could ever come close to the love I encountered once I began to read.
“I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world”. -Mother Teresa
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever. -Isaiah 40:8
I began to read more and more. I treasured every page, even the ones I did not understand. I stank my teeth into the word and it tasted as sweeter than the most elegant love poem, the juiciest love story, or heartwarming tale. The hole that I once made me feel hollow and empty, was now filled to top and overflowing. It is a kind of love that changes people, changes communities, and changes nations. It is a kind of love that heals and restores. I also believe the love of God demands a necessary presence in our lives. For without feeling his love we are bound to go cascading down a path in search of other lovers.
“If we could see how much the Lord loves us and truly feel it none of us would ever be the same again”. -R.T. Kendall
Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer’s souls and they promote sanctification. We are not meant to live without spiritual exhilaration The believer is in spiritual danger if he allows himself to go for any length of time without tasting the love of Christ. When Christ ceases to fill the heart with satisfaction, out souls will go in silent search of other lovers -The Thought Of God
I want to read the love letter my Heavenly Father wrote to me. I crave it. Through reading these pages I have developed a spirit of gratitude. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the love he has lavished on me. In the crinkled pages of our Bible there is a message that scream, I love you follow me. I love you, follow me, over and over again. The words of love are practically yelling through the pages. How could I have missed it before? All this time I felt so unloved, yet right under my nose was the greatest love letter of all time . How can we know his love without reading his love letter to us? We can’t see God’s love unless we are close with him. It would be like expecting a stranger to say, “I love you”, the first time you meet.
“In all the world there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world there is no love for you like mine”. – Maya Angelou
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39
God’s love for us is never unrequited for us. In fact, more likely we are the one’s who fail to love our maker in the way we should. God should be the one hurting, not me. He loves me, and sometimes I tell him he is not enough. Not by my verbal words, but by my actions. When I cry out in discontentment I am screaming, “Your love is not enough for me, you are not big enough”. But God’s love is big enough. He sees everyone’s love for him as unique and special of its kind because no two hearts are the same. No two humans are created the same, nor two minds wired identically. God loves getting to know us intimately, but more importantly he wants to love us unconditionally.
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7
So here is my shout out into the void about the understanding of love. I know that I am no love expert, love doctor, or match maker, but I think I no a little something about love. I know what it means to love and be loved. Everyone can have the same experience I have had. It is not subjective to a certain type of person. No matter your race, ethnicity, class, gender, or socioeconomic status God’s love is open to you. He wants you to accept his love. There is nothing that could ever compare to being loved by and almighty God. But don’t take my word for it. Go get some unconditional love for yourself. It is as simple as opening the pages of a book.