God’s Love Is a Mystery
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:38-39
I’ve been reading a lot lately about the boundless nature of God’s grace and love. I’ve been reading about how there is no corner of the earth he won’t go to in order to search out his wayward children, and that no amount of sin could possibly make God love us less. I’ve been drinking it all in, marveling at the truth of it.
And all the while, I’ve found my heart grow hardened toward the other side of God. I don’t want to think about or talk about God’s holiness and justness. I feel as though, to acknowledge that my God is as much a God of judgment as He is a God of love would somehow dampen my conception of the breadth of His love. I feel as though talking about consequences and holiness and the pursuit of right living would somehow make those beautiful verses in Romans less true.
It’s a frightfully complex paradox. The more I think about God’s nature and how it is wholly defined by that beautiful word—love—the more I realize just how little I understand about what the word means. Does love mean that hell can’t exist? Does love mean that our sins are washed away? Without repentance, will love one day expire and be replaced by wrath? When does love constitute discipline and when does it constitute mercy? How do I love when I don’t even fully understand what love is?
To try to measure God’s love seems to be a futile task, and I can’t begin to dream of knowing how to address it. All I know is that I can look back to moments in my life, and remember with stunning clarity the times when I felt truly and unconditionally loved. And those times never carried a trace of guilt-tripping or condemnation, though sometimes they involved gentle chastisement. Those demonstrations of love were never about reminding me how much I’d screwed up, but rather they were about affirming my value as a daughter, friend, sister, human being.
And I think those moments, those little specks of time that have since fleeted but remain burned in my memory, those are times when the people around me became unknowing vessels of God’s love to teach me what His love really is.
God’s love is a mystery, but I must trust it.