For several years I have had a prayer, that I would not fall in love with a woman before I’ve felt love for God. I think that prayer kept me away from many romantic engagements (booo!) but it also protected me from having a relationship before I was ready (yay!).
In hindsight it was a very good thing for me. As I gradually discovered God’s love for me, His desire for my life is to be whole and healthy (not primarily to have a ministry) – in this time I came to see Him as loving and as caring, not as a performance oriented God.
If God could choose between giving me a ministry in which I’d remain alone and unhappy, or giving me health and love in my life (perhaps never having a ministry) – then He’d choose to make me healthy and whole. It took a long long time for this truth to sink in.
Because of the teaching I’ve had in my life and because of the pain, I had little or no idea of how loving God is. I have a fair idea that He allowed me to go through all that pain, because through it I’d come to a deep understanding of four inter-related things:
- God is love and He is the source of all good things
- satan is bad and he is the source of all bad things
- Believing in Jesus (who He is and what He can do for us) releases tremendous blessings into our lives – what we believe is critical, but choosing to rely on Him is what will make the difference to our lives.
- This world is separated from God and therefore is (generally) a place of sadness (with some bright spots here and there)
Because of what I have been through, I became a broken person. It took 35 years to utterly shatter me. It has taken faith in Jesus (and relying on Him to do what He said He will do, living out His command to love others) only about 18 months to restore me to a wonderful place (and getting better and better).
The bible says
We love Him, because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
This has been true in my life. A while back I spoke about loving God and good friend said to me “do you?”. I didn’t because my life had been so hard and I was struggling so much. From an emotional standpoint I couldn’t love Him.
But recently I found myself ready to say to God that I loved Him. Do you know WHY I choose to love God? Because He is a good God and He is the ONLY source of goodness in this world. Of all the world’s religions, ours is the only one in which the central issue is love. The word “love” is mentioned 551 times in the bible! The one command explicitly given by Jesus is to love one another. But the same thread appears throughout the new testament – and I simply call it “One anothering“.
He is a God of love who encourages and rewards us when we love. He loves us now and He loved us before we even knew the state we were in. A God who cherishes love… that’s a good reason to love Him back I think.