What do you think of when you hear the word love? Maybe you think of the feeling of butterflies in your stomach upon meeting someone who you have feelings for. Maybe you think of devotion and commitment, kind words or actions, thoughtful gestures. Perhaps it’s the kind of brotherly love shared by comrades in arms. There are many different things that can come to mind when thinking about love and for many of us we can remember certain times in our lives when we felt such things and they can bring us back to that moment; whether it is upon meeting your spouse for the first time or the bond shared between soldiers who would give everything, even their very life for one another to protect the other. Love is powerful and it is moving. We all long for love, whether we want to admit it or not. There was a time that I swore off love, at least in the form of getting married, I was certain that I would never find the person that I was to marry and then along came Sara when I least expected to find someone.
God works in mysterious ways, but He is always working. There was a time in my life when I said that I didn’t even know if God existed, but looking back I always knew. He was always there speaking to me ever softly in the midst of the battle going on within me. I had believed the lies that I could find happiness and fulfillment without him. I tried to fill a hole deep within me through being the best that I could be at work, by always being the person that other could depend on, through lustful thinking and actions, as well as through buying the vehicle, house, and motorcycle that I thought I needed to fulfill the image that I thought I needed. All these things did was lead to more desperation and separation from God, but amidst all of my brokenness and in my weakest moments God never left me. He rescued me over and over again and quite honestly is still doing it today. We are all broken individuals with an orientation for love and acceptance, the direction that we go for that love and acceptance is up to us.
There is so much in the world that seeks to draw us away from God and I think we have done a pretty good job of allowing these things to be normal. Things that seek to fill a void within us that is looking for love and acceptance. Divorce is on the decline they say, but that is only because people are choosing not to even get married. Out of the roughly 300 million people in the United States roughly 20 million people have a sexually transmitted disease. That is one out of every sixteen people in the United States that have a sexually transmitted disease. Over 1,000,000 babies are killed every year by abortion as the result of an unplanned pregnancy and same sex marriage is rising in acceptance across the country. What is interesting is that roughly 78% of adults in the United States identify themselves as Christians. This is interesting to me because there was a time, both before and after walking away from God that I identified myself as a Christian, but still sought to find love and acceptance in ways other than what was pleasing and acceptable to God.
We all have a deep desire to be loved and accepted and will go great lengths to quench that desire. I don’t think that it was a mistake that after God had created the heavens and the earth and while looking upon His creation He said all things were good except for one thing, “the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'” (Gen. 2:18). God found everything to be good that He had created except for the fact that Adam was alone so what did God do?
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Recently as I was reading this text it occurred to me the deeper significance of marriage in this text. I always understood that woman (Eve) was created from the rib of man (Adam), but I had never really put together the rest of the passage. You see it goes on to say that because she was taken out of man that a man will leave his father and mother to be united to his wife…and they become one flesh… They became one flesh, because the rib that had been taken from man had been sewn back into place by God upon their union in marriage. Since Eve was literally taken out of Adam’s side Adam was not whole until they were reunited. This absolutely astonished me when I realized what was really being said. God created us to desire community, to desire love, and acceptance. The desire that we have is not of the enemy, but he sure does love to use it to cause us destruction. He loves to wave false versions of God’s good and perfect will in front of our faces to deter us from seeing what God really desires for us.
I guess what I am saying is that the more I follow God and seek to submit my life to Him the more I realize just how broken I was and still am. I need God so much that I cannot imagine life without Him. God’s love is greater than I could have ever imagined and rightfully so. I don’t know of anyone else who would actually give up their own son to die on a cross so that they could have a relationship with me, but God did. He gave His one and only Son so that you and I could have life if we believe in Him (John 3:16). He loves us that much. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our desire to love and be loved is God given, but the only way to truly receive that love and to be accepted is to accept Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. To be saved we have to do more than say that Jesus is our Savior, He must also be our Lord. He must be the one that we look to, the one that we serve, that we worship, that we trust, that we obey.
There was a time that I used to profess that Jesus was my Savior, but I was not ready to make Him my Lord. I have had to learn that He is my Lord and my Savior, and that I must willingly give up my life to follow Him. If we are to call ourselves Christians we must make an ongoing choice and effort to give up our will for that of God’s will. It is much more than saying that He saved us, we must willing give up our lives to His leading. God is patient and is waiting if you have not yet accepted Him as your Lord and if you have I encourage you to press into Him more everyday. I know that I have a long way to go still, but their is so much freedom in being able to say “yes” to God and “no” to unrighteousness. The bottomless hole that I once felt only rears up once in a while, when those times come I have found that I have quit seeking God and as soon as I turn back to Him and His ways I find that hole being filled with His love and acceptance through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within me. God bless you all and may God richly bless you in your journey of knowing the love and acceptance that only God can give you. In Jesus’ name.