The unmatched, overwhelming nature of God’s love

The unmatched, overwhelming nature of God’s love

I cry more than you might expect. It’s not that I’m a sad, unhappy or depressed person I just to be a fairly emotional person. As odd as it may seem to some, I cry most when I’m watching movies. I allow my heart to become attached to the emotions being experienced by the characters and sometimes (usually) I’m moved to tears when they experience the fulfillment of the narrative crafted for them. Let me give you a few examples.

Sam Mendes’ film American Beauty tells the story of a marriage that is falling apart. Through an unfortunate series of events the wife (Annette Bening) ends up deciding to murder her husband (Kevin Spacey) in their own home. Only moments later she finds herself in their bedroom staring into a closet full of his clothes and collapses into them with unbridled sobbing. It wasn’t until it was too late that she realized that she actually did love him. Her acting performance, and the tragedy of the circumstances make the scene incredibly difficult to watch every time.

On a lighter note in “A Civil Action” starring John Travolta tells the story of a hot-shot attorney who decides to take on a case in a small town where several children have died as a result of contaminated drinking water. In the process of funding their prosecution of the various corporations who might be responsible for this pollution he and his partners end up losing almost every material asset they had, which was no small sacrifice. Eventually they reach a settlement with the company and have to take the news of the small amount back to the parents who lost their children. The parents aren’t upset about the small amount of the settlement, but are instead upset by the fact that the company will not be required to make any significant operating procedures to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. One of the partners tries to soften the blow by reminding them how much he and his partners have lost as a result of this case to which she responds “How can you even begin to compare what you’ve lost to what we’ve lost?”

Both bring me to tears, almost every time. Sometimes I put myself in the shoes of the character and other times it effects me in a different way, as if the feeling of what the writer is trying to communicate hits me so hard that I can’t help but cry. Other times I’m just overwhelmed at the beauty of the love that some people exhibit through their actions.

Today at the gym I was walking on the treadmill. I’m not a sports fan but ESPN was playing on the TV and I just happened to look up and notice a little boy who was standing field-side at a soccer/football game. He was very small, probably 6 or 7 years old. The game had just ended and one of the players from his favorite team ran over, took off his shirt and handed it to the young boy, who was so excited at meeting his favorite player face-to-face that all he could do was stare down at the ground. The tall, muscular man smiled, reached his arms out and grabbed the boy, pulling him to himself and lifting him up to his chest giving him a hug. The little boy’s embarrassment and awe gave way to joy as he lay on the mans shoulder, it was truly touching. I totally welled up right there on the treadmill and something came to mind.

We as people are capable of some truly beautiful acts of love. We can be giving, caring and loving people sometimes, but of course we can also struggle with displaying attributes that are the opposite of those things. But, at the end of the day even our most beautiful, awe-inspiring and heart-melting acts of kindness are mere shadows of the love displayed to us by our amazing God.
After all, it would be easy as a soccer hero to show love to a child who idolizes you. As a parent I’m sure when you boil it down it’s easy to love your children because you know deep down they love you, despite what their actions say. However, it’s only the amazing, overwhelming and perfect love of God that can love us even though we have truly hated Him. In Isaiah 53:3 Isaiah gives us some prophecy concerning the coming messiah.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

What’s truly amazing about this scripture is that it was written over 700 years before Christ was even born! What’s truly humbling about this scripture, and what brings me to tears today is this…. God knew, before He sent his son to us in order to save us, that we would hate Him. He knew that we would reject Him. He knew that we would even kill him. However, he loved us so much that he sent Him anyway, because that was what he had to do in order to spend eternity with us. Let’s read more of Isaiah 53 (NIV).

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

My prayer for myself, and for anyone reading this, is that we will live a life that seeks to praise the name of the one who died for us. Not because that’s how we are saved, but because that is why we were saved. He who has ears, let him hear!

Some imagery provided by Unsplash.
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