Original Love

The passionate love of Jesus cannot be contained to one method or experience. The wild freedom of Jesus’ love cannot be put in a box or understood with the mind. His love flows out to us with infinite creativity from a wellspring of boundless depths. His displays of love toward us are as unique as each person he created. Our experience of his passion is very personal to each one of us. Every special love note from him is written specifically for one person. You. Me. The beauty of a view at the perfect moment is like a work of art painted by an artist for his lover. A piece of music touches your heart as if it were written only for you at that moment. A well-timed poem or written word jumps out of the page as if Jesus himself whispered them in your ear. A friend calls unexpectedly to encourage you. You are surprised by the joy of your own laughter as nature delights you with its playfulness.  The eyes of your heart are opened suddenly to understand that which had been hidden from you for so long. Jesus reveals himself in small ways every day to each of us individually beyond what we can imagine like the tender Lover he is. Do we see Him? Do we even notice?

Shortly after my own heart had been awakened by the kind love of God, I began to notice these love notes left by my Friend. One night, on Valentines Day, I was in good spirits as our church youth were serving  a couples dinner in a room off the gym which they had decorated for the occasion. My responsibility that night was to provide safety, and I spent much of the time in the parking lot. Now, this may not mean much to you and part of me feels silly sharing this, but I use it as an example of my own experience with the originality of Jesus’ love. As I walked the parking lot, I could hear the laughter and conversation as the sound carried itself out the open doors into the black, still February night. The stars were my sparkling canopy and the moon shone bright in the east. My mind was on the One who created all of this. Stars in the sky. Laughter and fellowship. Aware of my own aloneness on that night, yet knowing in my heart I was not at all alone, my eyes fell to the pavement and there the smooth finish of concrete was chipped away in the perfect shape of a heart. There was no way to mistake it. The message was as clear as if Jesus had stood in front of me and said it out loud. “I love you, Happy Valentines Day!” Laughter bubbled up inside my chest and I smiled so big I thought my face would crack. “Thank You, I love you so much!” I said out loud. I could feel him grinning back in pleasure at my surprise.

It’s the small things in a relationship which add up to the sum of its intimacy. When Jesus said giving food and water to the needy or visiting the sick or imprisoned was the same as doing it to him, it really doesn’t seem like that much. Of course it is the act of love that he is talking about. Do you think Jesus exempts himself from displaying his love for us through the little things each day? The hugs, kisses, and little affirmations we show to our loved ones if taken as individual acts are not much. But motivated by love and each act added to the next day after day, year after year can make the difference between intimacy and apathy. The passionate, mysterious, consuming love of God demonstrates itself in actions toward us every day. The cynical, religious, and rational mind will scoff, or at the very least quietly doubt. I have been all those things, and struggle with them still. The trusting, open, tender heart of a child sees the wonder in everything. As Brennan Manning says, “The engaged mind, illuminated by truth, awakens awareness; the engaged heart, affected by love, awakens passion…The love of Christ (not our love for Him, but His love for us) impels us. The integration of mind and heart shapes a unified personality living in a state of passionate awareness.”

Every life is a unique brush stroke painted in living color, combined to reveal who God is. Let the false personality you have built be washed away like a sand castle on the beach by the powerful waves of God’s measureless love for you. Abandon all to the good Papa and his loving kindness. Your true uniqueness is His very first gift to you, and the ways in which Jesus shows his love for you are special – meant just for you because he knows your heart. And remember, “Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you.” Oswald Chambers

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