The Most Important Of These

I’ve been maintaining a blog sporadically for a year and eight months now. Topics have included personal searching, music and literary reviews, praise for God, scripture study, politics, and family. As vehicles to convey my thoughts I’ve written essays, poems, and stream-of-consciousness dictations. But, after looking over the posts that I’ve put up over the last two or three months, I can recognize a trend that is a bit disturbing to me if I consider the possible consequences: Thematically, most of my posts have reflected the thoughts of a person consistently questioning life without conveying even a sense of the foundational hope that undergirds my ability to live in love with the wonder that, despite, the paces that I put myself through due to my own shortcomings, I find and enjoy each day.

I love, very deeply, my family, my Abba, and the millions of ways that He manifests Himself in and between the people and things around me. An understanding that I’ve come to (with a little help from C.S. Lewis) is the concept that the Holy Spirit is the love that exists flowing back and forth between the Father and the Son. So, in sending the Holy Spirit to us after His ascension into Heaven, He extended His love to us. The love that exists between my wife, my kids, and myself is also evidence of His love and, in fact, would not exist if it weren’t for the love and unearned favor of God. According to scripture, we can know of God’s presence in our life regardless of whatever emotions, feelings, or circumstances we may be grappling with at a given time:

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit…If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
~1 John 4:7-13, 15

Its because of the evidential love that I have for my family, a gift from God, that it is possible for me to have a consistent, foundational hope in He who I can’t necessarily see directly. It is that hope that sustains me during times when my only assurance seems to be that I’m not God and its just not possible for me to see everything from His perspective.

At a time when America’s core identity as a nation is in flux due to the economy, the election, and various other issues, it is comforting for me to consider the significance of the love that can and does exist in our own lives between friends, family, and neighbors. Through the love that He extends to us and the importance that He placed on the act of us loving others as ourselves, we can take comfort in His promise to us and the fact that we have not and never will be unloved.

I have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful

I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I’ve been undesirable

And sometimes I have been unwise
I’ve been undone by what I’m unsure of
But because of you
And all that you went through
I know that I have never been unloved

I have been unbroken
I have been unmended
I have been uneasy
And I’ve been unapprochable

I’ve been unemotional
I’ve been unexceptional
I’ve been undecided
And I have been unqualified

Unaware – I have been unfair
I’ve been unfit for blessings from above
But even I can see
The sacrifice You made for me
To show that I have never been unloved

It’s because of you
And all that you went through
I know that I have never been unloved

”Never Been Unloved” (Micahel W. Smith, Wayne Kirkpatrick)