We all desire to be loved. Most of us even have preferences for the ways we are shown love. And we feel hurt when people fail to love us in our desired manner. The problem is that people fail us all the time. No father loves his children perfectly, nor does a husband his wife. Friends fail each other every day. As a human race we are incredibly quick to judge others. We are easily “wronged,” even when the intentions of another were not meant to harm us. This is rooted in our tendency to set our expectations too high. Why do we have such high expectations?
The short answer is that is how we were designed. We have a God who loves perfectly. His love is steadfast (Lamentations 3:22a), meaning that it is firmly fixed and is not subject to change. His love is unfailing. No human being is capable of loving in this way.
Sometimes it takes someone failing you to realize how truly and perfectly loved you are by your heavenly Father. It often involves pain and heartache. Pain in seeing the unrealistic expectations you’ve placed on another person. Pain in understanding more fully the unhealthy dependence you’ve had on one of God’s creatures instead of on God himself. Additionally, it is both painful and challenging to fight the lies of the devil about yourself that you’ve inferred based on the love (or lack thereof) you have received from another person.
When the time is taken to fix our eyes on Jesus, to see the fullness of his love in his blood shed on the cross for us, we are able to gain a little perspective on the love we receive or fail to receive from others. We can stand in awe of a God who loves us in a deeper way than any friend, parent, spouse, or child ever could. As flawed, finite human beings all we can do is feebly seek to emulate the love of Christ toward us to others. The words in the hymn below paint a helpful picture of this love:
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
(The Love of God – Frederick M. Lehman)
His love is unending and unfathomable. It overwhelms us when we allow it to do so. No other love is worth comparing to it. “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) Amen. May we all comprehend more fully how firmly grasped we are in the arms of our great Savior!