Jun 19, 2014

Love Transcends

Only love does things that are impossible.  It alters what was unalterable.  It resolves every riddle and repairs the irretrievably broken.  Knowledge, prophecy, philanthropy, passion … they won't last.  But as my sister so eloquently texted me today:

- love transcends
Not in a rosy way
But it does

Everything of lasting good comes from love.  And love, when you get down to its core, is always between two actual people (often, one of them is God :)). It's not between two nations; not between two people groups; not between a person and an ideal, or a person and a place.  Real love is personal, because LOVE HIMSELF is a person.

Other motivations for good works put up good fronts and seem to have good results, but their fruit and their power will eventually fade (or rot). [1 Cor. 13:1-3] 

I was stunned when I read this morning that the High and Lofty One, who inhabits eternity, said "I dwell in the high and holy place, WITH him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Who but Love Himself would take sinners (sorry ones) up to dwell in His high and holy place, so that He can revive their hearts and spirits?  He's not afraid we'll soil His pretty temple, or sin again in His holy place.  He's concerned to heal and comfort us, because He knows our fragility.  And its not just about being present with us, for He didn't just come to where we were (though He did do that) -- He's brought us to His high home to do the healing and reviving.  [Isaiah 57:15]

No "sane" human would do this.  Even a mother calls to the muddy child to stay outside on the doorstep, until she can rush to him with a damp cloth and shoe-removing hands. And she is the most loving of us all. 

Who but Love would carry me into His home, His land, without concern for himself or the mess I might make?  Love transcends—it is beyond reason and it overcomes every objection.  It is selfless, and it is powerful.

I realized tonight that of the very few men I've ever been seriously interested in, all had one thing in common.  Marriage to any of them would have necessitated, at some point, moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and entering a second culture. 

This is rather shocking – I’m not an adventurer.  (Or maybe I am more than I think!)  There are perhaps practical explanations for this – I was always a fish-out-of-water, growing up.   Tall, white, intellectual … raised in the inner city.  I never fully “belonged”, except within the family unit and my relationship with Jesus.  So the in-between feeling of a whole new culture wouldn’t be all that strange to me.  But that’s not the real explanation for my willingness to embark on such life-altering, hazardous journeys. 

I know how to count the cost.  But I also know a few things about love. 

Song of Solomon says that a man could give all the wealth of his house to gain love, and it would be utterly despised.  But once he has gained love, once he loves, he will rightly give everything he has because of it.  God even gave His son. 

I couldn’t ever give my life in order to gain love, but I would give my life because of love.  The two are vastly different.  (Here is a most helpful analogy for understanding faith and works, by the way.) 

I know that my sister was correct:  love transcends.  It transcends the cost and it transcends the objections.  This is why I am willing for love to come with cost.  The value of the love will be greater than the value of the cost.  I know it would be that way in my “little story”, because it has already been proven through my part in His Great Story.  Love has already transcended all reason in the way God relates to me – He pulls me into His house, while I am still a potential liability, with an indisputable record of sin.  Why?  Because in His love He wants to revive me, and that’s greater to Him than the price He will pay for having me there.  And I have courage to go in, even when I know I’m a potential liability and completely unworthy…because I know that in the end His love will have (and already has—hooray for the cross!) transcended every objection to my presence in His home and my place at His table. 

This is the Great Story that overarches all other stories.  It defines our lives, and has determined our eternities.  May I live this Great Story in my little story -- the Love that never fails, never ends, and transcends all else.