Very rarely does love reach down, grab you, and shake you to the core.
Very rarely does love reach down, grab you, and shake you to the core. When those moments come, we must be willing to recognize and embrace them. Else we risk standing on the other side of love carrying bags of regret wondering, “what if.”
Growing up, I had heard of the love that God had for us all; that He sent His Only Son to die and rise for us. I’d driven by the church buildings constructed to celebrate that love and changed the channels when television evangelists asked for more money to spread that love. But I had never had that life-changing, earth-shattering love from heaven overwhelm me like others. The truth is that I had too many excuses for God’s love to take the next exit; as if my life were that dilapidated town unworthy of a tourist visit or even a pitstop. Those excuses quickly turned into the stones I used to construct a wall that would hinder anyone from ever getting close enough to love me.
Apparently, I had left some cracks in that wall because someone snuck in, unannounced, unplanned for, and unexpected, yet there she stood, my heart in her hand, and there it remains almost thirty years later. It was this same girl that introduced me to God and His love.
Now let me do something that should not be done in writing, breaking chronological order. But we will be back; let’s just take a step away to another story before we wrap things up.
There stood Laurie and me in a pet store in Massachusetts, we were about to start our lives together, and I felt it necessary to buy a dog. Laurie on the other hand thought it a bad idea and had so many reasons or excuses why dog ownership shouldn’t happen. The apartment we were in did not permit pets, we were in the military and they could station us somewhere that may not allow animals, we couldn’t afford anything with four legs and breathing, and the list of excuses went on and on. Sure, they were valid and reasonable, yet I was determined. So, while Laurie was on the other side of the store, I quietly asked the manager to let me hold the little Yorkshire Terrier that Laurie had been eyeing. Dog in hand, I walked up behind Laurie, tapped her on the shoulder, and when she turned around, I placed that dog in her arms. As soon as she looked into that dogs’ eyes, Laurie let out a sigh, and an hour later, we went home with Adidas and a monthly dog payment! What happened to all of the excuses? They went away when Laurie looked into the eyes of love.
That pet store experience is the best way to describe what happened to me and my relationship with God. I had excuses, and they were valid and reasonable; I was damaged goods, unwanted, unworthy, rebellious; an angry young man that was unlovable. And there I sat in my unlovable misery in the back row of a church one Sunday, just to satisfy Laurie, waiting for the final “amen” so I could slip out and get back home. And then it happened. I don’t remember the sermon or song selection; I just remember the preacher presenting Christ in such a way that all I could do is look into the eyes of love. Every excuse went out the window when I considered how much Jesus Christ loved me.
Friend, perhaps you can relate to this story in that you have never allowed the love of God to overtake you because your past flaws have overwhelmed you. Maybe you have listened to the voices around you so long that you have believed yourself to be unlovable. Or, perhaps you have allowed the love of God into your life, but you struggle with believing that He forgives you, cares about you, or still wants to be with you. Why not take some time tonight to look into the Eyes of Love.
Scripture: “Jesus looked at him and loved him” -Mark 10:21 NIV
Question: Have you cleared a path for love to enter your life, or have you constructed a wall designed to keep it out?
Prayer: Father, please help me remember that your eyes of love never lose focus, that you long for me to gaze into your eyes of love and surrender. Help me understand that your love does not come with strings, nor do you love a future better version of me; you just love. May I open the door to that love into my life and allow it to disrupt and change everything. Thank you for loving me, and thank you for having patience with me. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, amen.