We have a very, very, very good God – He is so, so unbelievably good. It’s astonishing when we really think about it – completely, jaw-droppingly astonishing.
As I was reading in Mere Christianity today, I came across a chapter on marriage where Lewis writes about how love is not all about feelings – it’s not about that first instance of being in love. The wonder fades away in relationships because it’s not quite so exciting anymore. You are bound by commitment because feelings fade, but vows don’t. Vows can be broken, but they do not just pass away without making a scene.
And, as I was considering this idea that I’ve agreed with ever since I knew what love and marriage and covenant were, I began to think about God. Christ’s relationship with the Church is meant to illustrate marriage – we are the bride of Christ, and He didn’t just promise to be faithful to us, He promised to pay the price if we were unfaithful to Him, and, not surprisingly, we were.
That’s not even feasible for humans to do for one another. That would be like if a small child took his brother’s toy truck and smacked him across the head with it, and the kid who was robbed and beaten volunteered to be spanked by the mother to right the wrong of the first child. That is ridiculous – why would someone suffer undo punishment when they did nothing to deserve it and the other party did everything to deserve it? Love, my dearest friend; a desire to spare another from suffering because of love.
And, as I thought about this comparison of earthly marriage to this heavenly union, I thought about feelings that pass away – I mean, people get divorced on the grounds that they “fell out of love”, and, honestly, that is one of the greatest tragedies – one of the greatest lies. At this notion, C.S. Lewis says, “Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing… You cannot make it the basis of your whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go.”
Hey – that’s important – feelings come and go. It’s a funny concept, though, because I think we realize this, but we don’t allow it to change the way we life enough for us to actual follow Lewis’s advice about not building our lives on, not just falling in love, but, in a broader sense, feelings. As the world, we’ve allowed feelings to dictate us as opposed to allowing us to be in charge of our feelings. We have been so overcome by a desire to have the most intensely wonderful feelings in every second, and that’s just not reasonable. I have days where the Spirit is tangible in me in a way that makes me want to dance forever, but other days, where I just want to sit with Him and rest. Sometimes I want to dance for Jesus, and other days I just want to sit with the Father. Through all of this, there is always underlying joy and peace, but it’s not always crazy intense, and if God wants us to be able to experience different feelings at different times, why would we expect that one other person could make us feel such a way that they fulfill all of our emotional/feeling desires?
But here is where things are different between God and people – I will forever be able to rejoice in His love because He continues to take us in to deeper relationship if we allow Him to. That’s not something you can always do with another person – but God, there’s no end to Him. We will always be learning about how good He is; we will forever continue to deepen our relationship with Him, and that fills me with so much life!! And a lot of times, that life expresses itself in great joy and peace on my face – it’s like happiness but better because it transcends my ever-changing emotions. That’s basically the best thing ever. I still get depressed, I still get afraid, I still… all these different things, but I still know that the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God will come knock down all my crazy walls, call me deeper, and hold my heart when I can’t handle life.
I’ve realized the most wonderful thing about this, too – even though our feelings as people may fade for one another, our imperfect love doesn’t come even close to His, we have trouble loving that big – but He is always rejoicing over us. He is always singing over us. He is always, always, always, ridiculously full of love and the most pure expression of love that exists. That is the most beautiful thing – He is constantly, forever, and always going to be totally, madly in love with us.
Bethel has this killer song, and the first lines go like this: “It’s always like springtime with You, making all things new. Your light is breaking through the dark. This love, it is sweeter than wine, bringing joy, bringing life. Your hope is rising like the dawn. This is what You do, this is what You do – You make me come alive.”
We always have the opportunity to be in sweet, joyful, peace-filled communion with Him, and all that we need to do is recognize His presence. We don’t have to make a ridiculous spectacle of it – we don’t have to be anywhere specific or say the right words – it’s about a love encounter that God is always wanting us to enter into. Even in the midst of tragedy and circumstances we hate to find ourselves in, He extends an offer of sweet communion where He will sit with us in our sorrow, and it may be hard to find joy, but He will not hold out His peace from us; He will not hold out His joy from us; He will not hold out His love from us because He really, REALLY loves us – like, a lot.
It’s not about feelings – not with people, not with God.
It’s about being acutely aware of His presence, His faithfulness, His grace, His perfect love, His eyes that ever look upon us with quiet pride.
He is so excited about you – He is so excited about you.