When I was getting married, a lot of people asked me if I was sure. I fully admit it seemed fast – met in June, engaged by September, married by December. If it wasn’t me, I probably would have had many questions and concerns for the people involved and thoroughly examined their reasons for moving so fast.
But it was me. And I was right. So there.
Yesterday, our pastor preached on Psalm 116 which starts out “I love the Lord because…” and goes on to list reasons why the psalmist loved God.
It seems simple enough to think about why you love God. You know, cuz he’s awesome and stuff. But when you scratch the surface layer away, you start to really dig in to the reasons. Much like when I start thinking of all the reasons I love my parents or my brothers or my husband. You can have this generic sense of love and adoration, but it’s really the details that grow your love and give it strength. To get beyond the vague concept of love is to mature in your love and give it a greater foundation so that when trials do come, and they will, you have much more than a wispy feeling to go on.
And when we dissect our love for God, we grow in knowledge of who He is and who we are. We start out, as our pastor said, with a child’s love. I love Him because He’s my dad. And then you start to realize what it means to be a dad. You begin to understand the sacrifices he makes, the time he takes to be with you, the money he spends on you, the stress he endures to make sure you are getting the best he can give.
Then when you become a parent, you really begin to see what you missed before – the sleepless nights worrying for your future, the anger they felt not at you but at all the wrongs done to you, the countless ways they fought for you without you even knowing about it, the long talks they had about you and what to do with you half the time causing them great discomfort and impeding on their “free time.”
This isn’t just a guilt trip, though it could turn into that easily. Instead, it’s a learning moment. It’s a time when you begin to appreciate what it means to love someone in very specific ways, at great cost to yourself.
And you have to ask yourself why. It’s easy enough when it’s a cute little child in your arms. Of course you love him. He’s adorable and awesome and doesn’t talk back when you tell him to do something. But as some point, that child turns into something else, and it’s a little more difficult to love when he is bratty and selfish and rude and yells at you. But what good is it to love someone only when they love you? Even the heathen do that.
And I have a eureka moment when I realize how great the love of God truly is. How He loves us at our worst and even when we hate him. Even in my darkest moments when I was kicking and screaming and calling him names, He loved me.
This is why we love Him – because He first loved us. All other reasons begin to pale for me. It’s not because He did something for me – though He has done much more than I can even begin to list. It’s not because He gives me good things – and He has given me more than I ever even imagined I wanted. But because He made the first move, He played the first hand, He gave the first sign, and He spoke the first words. And there is great comfort in this because He didn’t love me because of anything I did – and so I can’t do anything to separate myself from His love. And there isn’t anything about who I am to make me worthy – so I won’t change in a way that will make Him love me less. He loved since before time was time because of who HE is, and that will never change. This love casts all my fears aside and makes me more able and willing to love as I have been loved.
I love the Lord because He first loved me.
not to make light of this … but this is too funny. my husband, ever my spiritual leader, reminded me of this clip…