We all need true lovers – people to love us the way we are, as human beings, rather than just for what they can benefit from us. All of us long for people who will stick with us in good times and even more so when things aren’t so good. Sadly though, true lovers are difficult to find.
But when you finally meet them – as one lucky lady in the following true story did – you’ll find their commitment unquestionable, their actions exhilarating, and their presence breathtaking.
It was a busy morning at the clinic, about 8:30 when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. The doctor’s office nurse took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone could see him. The nurse saw him looking at his watch and decided that since she was not busy with another patient, she would evaluate his wound.
On exam, it was well healed, so the nurse talked to one of the doctors and got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While caring for his injury, the nurse asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment that morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told the nurse that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. She inquired as to her health.
As they talked, the nurse asked if his wife would be upset if he were a bit late. He replied that she had Alzheimer’s disease and no longer knew who he was and that she had not recognized him in three years. The nurse was surprised and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?” He smiled as he patted her hand and said: “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”
The nurse had to hold back tears as the gentleman left; she had goose bumps on her arm and thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.”
A human being is an invisible spirit attached to physical attributes such as the body, possessions, status, career and behaviour. Usually, when people say, “I love you”, ” I need what you have… your physical attributes”. Similarly, when men say, “I love you, God”, they mean, ” God, I need your material blessings”. In principle, human love is built on the premise of physical attributes; should these attributes change, the dynamics of human love will shift accordingly. That is why Jesus warned us against making our aspirations on the platform of human trust.
In its purest form, love is a wilful concern for the welfare of the other expecting nothing in return other than the joy of concern. God, The Spirit, is also love. He’s the only one who can love us with no strings attached. Unlike human love, God’s love is based on the premise of His eternal wilful concern for the welfare of our body, mind and spirit. Since God’s unchangeable will is the only determinant of His love, God’s love for us is steadfast.
God expects nothing from us in exchange for His love because everything we have (including our souls) belongs to Him. Even if He were in need, God said, He wouldn’t come to us for help (Psalms 50:12). Our God loves us regardless of whether or not we appreciate Him. He loves us irrespective of our condition or conduct. The Bible says God created us because He loved us; He loved us while we were still sinners and sent Christ to die for the forgiveness of our sins (Romans 5:8). The only motive for God’s love is the joy He generates in transforming us from misery to prosperity.
Although God’s love always results in material gifts, the intrinsic value of love is emotional. When we open our hearts to receive His love, our hearts tend to be filled with unspeakable joy that irrigates our entire being and overflows to those nearby. Whilst it is impossible to love others without being filled with God’s love truly, it is impossible to be filled with God’s love and fail to love others. Love is a strong perfume, you cannot wear it, and others fail to notice.
There is a difference between gifts and love. Although love always comes in gifts, not every gift stems from love. God’s love is unconditional. However, some of His blessings are conditional. God, in His profound wisdom, has decided some of His benefits be accessed and enjoyed only under certain conditions. When this happens to be the case, God lovingly educates us to make sure we understand. If we fail to abide by His instructions, we experience some inconveniences, and consequently, God corrects us to help us. So God does everything to us on the premise of love. He grants or denies us the blessing purely on the merit of their profitability to our eventual holistic well-being.
If you feel let down by people, I dare you to shift your attention to God, who loves you unconditionally. You might not recognize him, but He knows who you are; you might be lost, but he knows where to find you; you have nothing to give Him back, but He doesn’t need anything from you. You are imperfect, but His perfection is the only thing that matters. God hates sickness but loves the sick; He detests sin, but he likes the sinner; He abhors poverty, but he respects the poor. This is why we all qualify for his love.
I sincerely pray that today, even as you meditate on these words, you may open your heart to receive God’s unconditional love and be filled with His inexpressible joy you truly deserve. Amen.