There’s more that dances on the prairies
Than the wind
More that pulses in the ocean
Than the tide
There’s a love that is fiercer
Than the love between friends
More gentle than a mother’s
When her baby’s at her side…
Rich Mullins ‘If I Stand’
From the foundation of the world God had a desire and a plan that people would be so motivated by His Love toward them that they would respond to that Love with Love to Him and to one another. They would be a people that could live out of their hearts having had the Love of God imparted there by the Holy Spirit of God. That desire would mean the those people would not just be ‘good’ people, ethical people, but that they would be new creatures in their ability to respond with a Love that was not an emotional feeling but a resource drawn from the very heart of God. It would be a people so changed that they would have a Love buried deep in their hearts that did not depend on feelings but on God’s ability to Love. A creature that could draw on an unction in order to live the Christian life. We know God’s Love is possible, after all God so loved that He gave to a very unworthy and unlovable creatures like you and me.
Recently, I’ve been reading Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard. In it, he speculates (probably 25 times) on the scriptures that tell of Abraham’s love of God. Abraham loved God so much that when God told him to offer up his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice, Abraham obeyed. God called
Abraham and Abraham answered: Here I am. We ought to note in particular the trusting and God-devoted disposition, the bold confidence in confronting the test, in freely and undauntedly answering: Here I am. Is it like that with us, or are we eager to evade the severe trials when we see them coming, wish for a remote corner of the world in which to hide, wish that the mountains would conceal us, or impatiently try to roll the burden off our shoulders and onto others…(p.239)
Abraham sought no consolation. He simply rose early in the morning. He was at Moriah by daybreak. He cut the wood. He bound Isaac. He lit the fire. He drew the knife. He was prepared to do as God ask even to the point of loosing everything that was dear to him, every hope for the future, lose the child of promise.
Can you get inside Abraham’s mind for a moment? Can you image the terror of such an act? Can you see the hesitation in Abraham’s raised hand? Can you see Abraham’s face? Image the fear of Isaac as his father prepared the offering. What would have been the outcome had Abraham actually sacrificed the boy? What would have been said and done back home? We do not have to contemplate whether Abraham really was prepared to follow through, his eye was straight ahead, not looking right or left: he was very definitely going to do as God had requested.
God went to an unimaginable depth to reveal that Love to the world. It is a love not based on the emotion of being in love. It comes from being Love, an involuntary Love. One that doesn’t come because of effort to Love, but a Love that comes from having to Love. Needing to Love when the object of that Love of God is unlovely. Try that if you can. Trying will be all we can do. But image being able to Love the unlovely without trying. Having the ability to do so but none of the feeling to do so. We will need help doing that, need ability we do not have ourselves. We will have to draw on the ability of God to do that kind of Love. How do you think Abraham felt going up to Moriah? Because of his love and devotion to God, he hurried early in the morning. I assure you he did not feel like hurrying.
Jesus is The Father’s expression of God’s Love for us. Some of that picture is almost humorous. Imagine being the Son of God and being scolded by his mother and father for making them worry. Or you’re the Son of God working in a carpenter’s shop and Joseph is teaching and telling him how to build a stool. What do you think Jesus knew about creating things!
The picture continues until we come to the flogging. Here the flesh was literally torn from his back, a crown of thorns place on his head, nails in his wrist. It was a death that was determined to be so horrible it discouraged any one that was watching from resisting Roman rule. Here, we get the image of Abraham and Isaac repeated with full discloser of how Isaac must have felt and the severity of Abraham’s deed on Mt. Moriah.
God so loved the world that he gave! To Love you so much is the only way that The Father could have watched His Son suffer on that cross. To have Loved us first, before we Loved Him, was such a strong motivator for God. I wonder if we recognize the totality of the price that was paid for us? Has the story been repeated to the point that we just take it for granted? Has it so familiar that we are not amazed by it anymore? Do we fail to get the full impression of that moment?
To be able to operate in a constant and continuous Love, we will need to draw on His Love. It is an ability that can only come from God. Now, our human love will let us hit the mark every now an then, when we feel like it. We spend a lot of time trying to make our love perfect. Truth is, our (feelings based) love will never give us that ability. God’s Love gives us the ability to do what we do not want to do.
If we are to comprehend the fullness of God, we must be grounded and rooted in His Love (not ours) (Ephesians 3). John 15 teaches of a Love that will bring a fullness of Joy in our lives. It will not be a reasoned or comfortable Love walk, but it will be a possible walk. It is the resource for the believers to take on the very image of God in spite of how we feel. His Love is a raging and fierce Love generated and pre-destined before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1).
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God…
Rich Mullins ‘The Love of God’