I’ve often told people that writing helps me to understand things. If it’s fiction, I usually invent characters that have my problems and somehow the character solves the problem and then I have a revelation about my life. I know it’s strange, but ask any writer and they will tell you that a character writes themselves, even if you are punching the keys. So I started to write about love today, knowing that I’m in the dark on the topic, but I wanted to see where it would go. This ended up being a longer post, but hang with me and I think you will get as much out of it as I did. Here goes.
There is a lot of time to read down here, and in pretty much every book I’ve read, love seems to be a universal theme. The hobbit illustrates love between friends who face death together. Paulo Coelho writes about love between a man and woman. The author of The Sibling Effect talks about how different the love between siblings is and I’ve heard a scientist analyze how love can be broken down into an algorithm and is essentially just chemicals in our brain.
So today has been a confusion of trying to decipher what all of these theories really mean. When Coelho writes, it is about letting love reign and allowing a spiritual experience to lead us to our partner, to love is to lose control, he compares love to a dam letting loose. And the person who operates Match.com’s database talked about how love derives from our subconscious making a map of what kind of person we want. She talks about how when we find the person that meets these expectations it triggers the same part of our brain that lights up when people do cocaine.
But then again, Plato said that our need for love is like our need for food and water. Yet some other dude claims that our need for a spouse boils down to when apes started to walk and the women needed a man to help carry the baby because they couldn’t just walk around with them on their back anymore.
So I don’t know whether love is a want, need, or chemical imbalance. But I do know that at no point in history have we argued more about love. Never in history have we invested more in love, and never in history have we had more divorces in America. None of us are really good at this mysterious thing called love, but we expect the people we share love with to satisfy everything we think it should be.
There was only one that was ever good at love, and we take him for granted every day. When we talk about the gospel, we throw around the word redemption and sacrifice like it is any other word. But take a second and think about all those other kinds of love, the kind you have for your father, the kind you have for your son, for your wife, brother, and friend and multiply it by infinity. That is how much God loved his son, and in comparison to that, everything does turn into some kind of chemical imbalance.
Think about it, one single person was beaten and nailed to a tree and that one person payed for every sin ever, that doesn’t seem to add up. But the only thing I learned in algebra was that you can make any equation work by balancing out the left and right of the equals sign, and the only way that equation would work would be if the love that God had for that one single person was worth more than everything else combined. So, take the love that people had in all of history and in all time to come, every relationship that ever was and add all that love up. Stack that up against how much God cared about Jesus and it is NOTHING. No words that I can write can come close to honoring how much God cares. That is why heaven needs to be eternal, so we can spend forever trying to express to him how amazing he is, because his love would literally crush our hearts if he didn’t protect us from it.
Again, I don’t claim to know anything about love, I just can’t figure out why any of us think we do. I’m not saying we shouldn’t aim for love, just that we’ve been investing in the wrong kind of love. We act like there is some secret code, and if we can just crack that code then we would all be able to love each other and there would be no divorce or fear and world hunger would probably be eliminated too. This might sound morbid, but I think it needs to be said. We love to the greatest capacity that humans can love. Why do we expect so much more?
You want to know what I think the secret code is? Well, I am going to tell you anyways because I’m writing this and you don’t have a chance to interrupt me. I think we just need to stop expecting everyone else to solve all of our problems. Stop expecting your spouse to love like God loves. They love you the best they can love you, and that should be enough, because the truth is only God can love like God loves. For some reason that reminds me of when Gene Wilder was handing out everlasting gobstoppers in the Wonka factory. “Everybody has one, and one is enough for anybody.”
Everyone has the offer of God’s lofty love dangling in front of them, and that love is sufficient for anyone.