Morning Musings
By Rhoda Griffin on September 5, 2020
“I have loved you with an everlasting love” ~ God
It’s early. The house is quiet, and I’m technically still sleeping, caught in that mid zone between dreaming and waking. Strangely the words of Jeremiah 31:3 play through my mind, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Mmm, so nice. My heart tugs. Then my mind begins to stir with a few blurry questions. I wonder, “What does that mean, everlasting love? Does it mean a love that lasts forever? Timeless love? Eternal love? A love that never dies?” Could you imagine loving someone longer than a lifetime? Some of us can’t even love for 5 years, 5 minutes! I’m awake now, the only one awake. I go downstairs to enjoy a rare moment alone in the quietness. I rest on the couch in the morning light, Bible draped open, mulling over those words, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer 31:3). I have more questions, “Does everlasting love also mean the quality of God’s love, not just the duration? Jeremiah calls it unfailing kindness. A love that maintains the highest level of intensity and quality at all times without ever faltering or giving up? Relentless love? Does God not find that exhausting? To relentlessly pursue me with a love that never diminishes for the duration of an eternity? I mean, I love with human capacity, which means that my “love” fluctuates, it wanes, it tires, it can even die. I love with conditions, he doesn’t.” I am in awe by this kind of love and then quickly wonder at how my love for God falls so terribly short of his for me. But he is kind and gracious and reminds me, “Rhoda, love like mine doesn’t originate with you, it originates with me. All you can do is respond to my love, receive my love, surrender to it. I am the source of love, not you.” I recall how John tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God continues to speak to my heart, “As you respond to my love for you, and receive my love, then you will know what it is to love as I love.” It begins to open up to me. Of course! John has told us this before! “We love him because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The only reason I have any love in my heart for God is because he first loved me. I love him by way of response to his love for me. I literally can’t love him without his love for me. If he had never loved me first, there is no way I would’ve ever loved him first. I only love him “in return.” My love for God does not originate with me. Paul has told us that none of us search after God. It is God who initiates the search for us, and we respond to his loving search either by rejecting him or accepting him. Yet for those of us who have responded by accepting his salvation, we must still continue to open ourselves to his love. When John wrote the words of Jesus, “I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends,” (Rev 3:20), he was writing to believers, to people who already knew the Lord Jesus as their Savior. So clearly we must continually open the door of our heart to him by way of response to his loving knock in order, not to begin a relationship with him, but to continue to enjoy our relationship with him. Things became very clear to me in the quiet. If I find my heart cold towards him, or find myself lacking affection for him, or find serving him to be burdensome, the solution cannot come by trying to draw love from myself, from me as the source, as though I am its wellspring. I must actually go back to God as the source to draw from. Yes, I must draw from God‘s love in order to love him. What? Haha 😄 yes, I know. You see, the solution is not for me to muster up my being, to strain at my soul, to squeeze and wring out my heart, should there be a drop there for him? No, the solution is rather to go to him for love, to open my heart up to his love once again, to bathe myself in it, to sink into it fully, to allow his love to wash over me, to take those moments with him, to take from his own hand all of him that is precious, to follow what he asks when he says, “Remain / abide in my love” (John 15:9). And then to simply respond to his love with the love he is freely pouring into me. Amazing. And how do I respond to his love? I respond by saying yes. Simply saying yes to him each and every day. I wanted him and said yes to him the day I was saved, and I should still want him and say yes to him every day thereafter. And saying yes won’t merely be an affectionate feeling, though his love most definitely warms the heart. But just as God’s love manifests itself in real ways to me, my responsive love for him will also manifest itself in real ways to him.
1. It will manifest itself in me loving him in return. (“We love him because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19. “Remain in my love” John 15:9.)
2. It will manifest itself in me loving others. (“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God” 1 John 4:7. “Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other… If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us” 1 John 4:11-12. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” John 13:34. “God will not forget… how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do” Heb 6:10. “God himself has taught you to love one another” 1 Thess 4:9.)
3. It will manifest itself in living by faith. (“I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Gal 2:20.)
4. It will manifest itself in what I give and sacrifice. (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” John 3:16. “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” 1 John 4:10. “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God” Eph 5:2.)
5. It will manifest itself in my obedience to him. “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him” 1 John 2:5. “Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them” John 14:23.)
6. It will manifest itself in my free and willing service to him. (“Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul” Josh 22:5.)
7. It will manifest itself in his presence in my life. (“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” Eph 3:17-19.)
The house is waking up. My quiet time is coming to an end. A bedroom door slowly opens and a little person comes down the stairs, one small thump at a time, all sleepy eyes, blonde tussled curls, and ruffled pyjamas. She makes her way slowly down, the morning holds no rush, then shuffles towards my couch. She stops beside me and looks up… waiting. She makes no move of her own, I must initiate the first move. I stretch out my arms and pull her into my embrace. She’s like a warm, limp little rag doll in my arms, contentedly allowing me to snuggle her, smooch her, squeeze her, smell her, and simply pour out all my love onto her. Soon her little arms wrap around my neck and she hugs me back. The imagery is not lost on me. “Haha, okay Lord, I get it.” ❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.