It's funny when these things come to you. Sometimes we sit up late at night with our leather-bound journal and our peppermint tea latte straining to have some inkling of creative inspiration or tap into some God-whispered mystery, when all the while God wishes to speak to us in his way and on his watch. Such was the occasion today when I was sitting in introduction to worship music class and mid-lecture, I found my mind drifting to God's love.
In this season at Bible College, I have had some rather large hurdles with health that, quite frankly, make me think at times that it might be best to take time off from school and simply rest up, get better, and come back when I'm healthy. But that's making a lot of assumptions. That's assuming everything goes according to plan, that everything in this plan will be safe, and that in the end, everything will work out the way I foresaw.
What, then, about relationships? Do these usually go according to plan? There's actually a lot in relationship that probably will not go according to plan. There's the chance you could get hurt--a big chance, actually. What if you are married and then, a year into marriage, much like C.S. Lewis's story, you find your spouse has an incurable disease about which neither of you knew. Obviously, this will dramatically change your lives. In a similar way, God chose to enter into relationship with humanity, even at the great risk of being hurt, and hurt deeply at that. But what is love's response to the sin that we willfully brought into our world? The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. But can the cure for all of our greatest trials and pains really be distilled down to this love of which the Bible speaks?
Oftentimes in life, the temptation is to look at the peripheral, those things which seem to be most pressing and those directly at hand. Let's go back to the newly-married couple. Perhaps the introduction of this disease into their lives makes things hard--very hard. What would one think if the couple separated in order to allow one partner to heal from the disease before coming back to the marriage--all this in order to prevent any tainting of the marriage? I would hope one finds the idea as rediculous as do I. The healthy response for the couple would seem to work through this new and unexpected trial together, letting their love for each other grow, flourish, and ultimately carry them through their hardship, and on the other side of it all, posessing a stronger and more perfect love than ever before.
Isn't it much the same in our relationship with God? At least in my life, it is often tempting when I realize something needs fixing in my life to tell God, "Ok, I'm going to go work on this and then come back to you. Is that cool?", when in real-time, this isn't the reality of relationships. When things get tough in life, God's perfect love expands to exceed the trial's demands. Of this I am convinced: God wants our trials to make us fall back into his arms of love rather than drive us further into ourselves and striving, self-effort, self-help, and self-promotion. In our trials, God is desiring for us to catch a complete glimpse of his perfect love and grace. Oftentimes, it takes such trial to get us to this point. This is why, for me personally, I don't believe that simply packing up to work on the peripherall of my health is the main issue at hand. I believe the Lord is showing me something more profound--calling to the deeper places in my heart. He is asking me to trust him in faith and let his love cover everything--all pains, all ailments--and alllow his perfect love to be made complete in my life. This is truly one of God's greatest graces of which I have yet known.