There is nothing like feeling completely loved. It might be when you husband wraps his arms around you or your child climbs in your lap to give you a sticky kiss with a look that says you are the most important person in her little world. Maybe it is a friend who goes out of her way to meet a need or show you that you matter to her.
Whatever makes you feel completely loved, it's a wonderful feeling. Reams of poems and reels of film show us that "happily ever after" means that true love wins out. Somehow, those stories never end with Cinderella and the Prince having an argument over who forgot to take out the trash.
The problem is, those feelings are fleeting and reality creeps in. Interspersed with the perfect moments are a lot of moments that, well, aren't quite so perfect. Instead of a sticky kiss, your little angel slams her bedroom door, declaring, "You are so unfair - I hate you!"
Your husband makes a cutting remark or your best friend disappoints you.
Yet, we want to be loved and we long for a love that is unconditional and reliable. Especially as women, we have a deep need to feel loved for who we are - no matter what. Some of us spend a lifetime searching for that love - looking for that person who -as that Jerry McGuire movie said - completes us. We chase after that perfect person who will - finally - love us the way we desperately want to be loved.
The thing is, no person, no matter how wonderful, can fulfill this need completely. Instead of acknowledging this, though, we continue pursuing people who will fulfill this deep need in us - placing impossible expectations and demands on them.
We strive after careers or stuff or achievement to make us more worthy of that love. Instead, we end up exhausted and disappointed and just a tad guilty, like we somehow failed either to love or be worthy of love.
There is One Person who loves perfectly though - that would be God.
In my quiet time this morning, I read about the promise that God makes that He loves us and nothing can keep Him from that: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities (demons), nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
But knowing about something and really knowing it are two different things.
If you've gone to church all your life (like I have) the idea that God loves you is not new, but do you know it deep in your heart? Has it God's love travelled from your mind to your heart?
In Ephesians, Paul wants the church at Ephesus to really get this concept. In Ephesians 3:13-16 it says, "that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge tha you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."
Again, if you are a regular church-goer, these verses might seem very familiar, but when you look at them more closely, there is a lot in there.
First, Paul's prayer is that God would grant these believers power through the Holy Spirit and not just grant a little bit but "according to the riches of His glory" or out of God's abundance. This isn't a stingy thing but an abundant thing.
Second, Paul wants them to be rooted which means to be thoroughly grounded. He also wants them to be grounded which means to lay a foundation. Paul's prayer is that we can comprehend or lay hold of, the length, breadth, height and depth of Christ's love.
And he is not just talking about head knowledge but a deep knowing in the marrow of our bones of God's love.
The result of truly laying hold of and wrapping our minds and hearts around the love of God is that we will be filled up to all the fullness of God. In other words, our cups will be full and overflowing. We will not have the need to go chasing love in places and people that can never really fill us up.
To know God's love is the foundation of understanding God's grace and mercy, of truly believing He is good and wants our best. Without this knowing - when it is just head knowledge - we participate in just another religion, rather than a relationship.
~ Blessings, Bronte