In South Asia, I often baked from scratch. As I stirred muffin batter, scents of apple and cinnamon usually drew my family into the kitchen. Once the ingredients were mixed, it was impossible to separate them. They blended to make something irresistible.
I’ve studied the concept of love in Scripture and academic journals, but can’t seem to separate the ingredients. Is love made of intense feelings–deep regard, commitment, and warmth? Or is it unwavering acceptance, commitment, and sacrifice? Somehow I think it’s both.
I’m usually blown away when I realize someone loves me. What an honor! How could this person love me? Buddhist and Muslim friends have cared for me during both celebrations and difficulties in life. A Hindu friend once reminded me of Jesus’ kindness to children when I was in a rush and unintentionally impatient with a child in my neighborhood. He did it without a sense of superiority because he knew what frustrating days feel like. Even though these people did not know Jesus, they were created in God’s image–therefore, capable of great love. Traces of the Creator remain in humanity all this time after the fall.
Followers of Jesus have also shown deep love for me. The Holy Spirit has worked through them, bringing meaningful reminders of Jesus’ care. We love because He first loved us. Yet, when I catch a glimpse of God’s favor toward me, while comforting, it usually comes with some level of surprise. Why do I struggle to rest in His love? Especially when the imperfect, yet fierce love I give and receive is empowered by Him, the very source of perfect love?
Scripture showcases the personal, passionate, and relentless love of God for humans. God is love and love is God. Inseparable. His love encompasses me regardless of my behavior or circumstances. His is an intensity of love I’m only beginning to understand–one I will have forever to grow in. Still, forever will somehow only be the beginning of knowing His love. I want desperately to rest and revel in God’s love so I can experience life and love others the way I was meant to–without fear.
Why do I sometimes struggle to rest securely in God’s love for me? How could this affect my relationship with Him and others?