I just can’t get past it…

There is something in Christianity I can’t get past. It’s something I’ve discovered fairly recently and I just can’t stop thinking about it; I just can’t get past it. I’m sure my wife is tired of me talking about it, because it dominates my thoughts. Even my friends have noticed my obsession with it. Maybe you have, too.

It’s the love of God.

“Oh, brother,” you think, “Here we go again. I know about the love of God already. After all, John 3:16 says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..’. I know that. That’s Christianity 101.”

Yes, that’s probably the most famous and well-known verse in the Bible. Yes, you probably know that verse by heart. But do you really know the depths of God’s love? Do you really understand what it means for you everyday? Do you know why the Gospel is really Good News?

I think not. Well, at least some of you reading don’t. Because if you REALLY understood the love of God, it would be a game-changer for you. (And I see a lot of sour-faced, defeated people out there who claim to know Jesus and the love of God.)

First, the love of God is not the kind of love you and I are used to. It’s not based on our performance, our attitudes, our actions or behaviors. God loves us the same today as He did yesterday… and the day before… and the day before that. He knows all about the bitterness you still hold on to. He knows all about the lies you told last week. He knows all about your pitiful prayer life and the fact that you don’t read your Bible as you should. And He still loves you with a dance-on-the-rooftops, swing-on-the-chandelier-kind-of-love! He sings over you, Scripture says. Despite all your daily screw-ups, failures, blunders and mistakes, He loves you the same as the day you were born. Unbelievably, He loves you and I the same as He loves super-saints like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa.

In turn, this means that He won’t love you more if you become a super-saint yourself. He doesn’t love you more for reading your Bible two hours every day and spending two hours in your prayer closet each day, although you may get to know Him better. It’s startling to think about, but even though you may do that, He doesn’t love you more than He does any terrorist or pedophile or murderer.

For me, this kind of love ends all my “checklist religion”. It is (or should be) the end of performance-based living, which dominates our world, and dominates how we give and receive love. We love those who love us in return. We love those who do nice things for us. But God, while He wasn’t even on our minds at all… while we were living our own selfish lives… while we even cursed His Name… loved us and died for us. In doing so, He wiped the slate clean… and He continues to wipe the slate clean – with the blood of Jesus – every day. Since my life is “hidden” with His, my soul is secure. I don’t have to strive and strive and strive to earn God’s love, His favor, His gifts, or His blessing. I have Him. And He is all I need.

Lastly, this is amazing, Good News! If you were to ask someone what the Gospel is all about, they might reply that Jesus died for our sins and now we have eternal life. Yes, but that’s only scratching the surface. Eternal life is not just life after death.

It’s eternal living, too. The love of God doesn’t end with sending His Son to the Cross. While it’s true, that is where the amazing grace of God is discovered, His love endures through all generations. He loves you as much right now as He did when Jesus went to the Cross. What this means is that He is with you right now! He knows what you’re going through right now. And He is working things out for your good right now, even though you may not think so. Even if you are suffering right now, He promises to be with you through it all and turn it into something that makes you more like Christ, giving Him resounding glory.

Not only that, but in the end, you, I, and Christ WIN. Evil will be defeated. There will be no more pain or sorrow, and God Himself will wipe away our tears. This is where Christian hope comes from. It’s not a pie-in-the-sky, wishful-thinking kind of hope. It’s a sure thing, a certainty, and Rock-solid. It’s the hope of a better tomorrow, no matter what today looks like. We are living in the unshakeable Kingdom of God!

All because of the love of God. Good News indeed!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)


Have you ever had a deja vu? A feeling you’ve been here before or done this before? I’m sure you have. When I have them, which is very infrequently (more when I was younger), it originates from a dream. I have a dream and then weeks, months, or even years later, I am in that very situation. How is that possible? Gift of prophesy? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

For me, I think that when I have a deja vu, I tap into something eternal inside me. I know that sounds crazy and there’s nothing I can do to prove it and there’s nothing Scriptural to back it up. I’ve had deja vus since I was a kid, so it was way before I’ve had a relationship with God, but how else do you explain it?

Friday night, I saw the movie, “Heaven Is For Real.” The main character, played by Greg Kinnear, is a pastor. I won’t spoil the movie for you, but his life, family, and church are turned upside-down as he tries to explain the unexplainable (and unScriptural). Some things are beyond explanation. I can relate, in a very small way.

But isn’t that what faith is all about? Isn’t faith just trusting God when there’s no explanation possible? Faith is beyond words. Faith is beyond human reasoning and logic. Faith is all about surrender and trust… surrendering my need to know everything and my need to figure it all out and my need to explain it all… and then trusting in the One who has it all figured out and the One who will explain it all one day and the One who does know it all (who created human reasoning and logic!).

A couple of verses come to mind as I type:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, NIV84)

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV)

As I posted a couple of days ago, my friend Cindy asked us all on Facebook, “If you had 5 minutes to FaceTime with God, what questions would you ask?” I have loads of questions like, “What’s the purpose of mental retardation, autism, and mental illness?”, for instance. But for now, I’m content not knowing the answers for life’s most pressing questions. And actually, that’s very liberating for me. I don’t have to figure it out.

I will just surrender and trust.