Until this past week, I had never been properly struck with the gravity of the Love of God. Until this week, I had only listened to others rave about His passionate love. I had only been able to observe as their eyes lit up and gleamed at the thought of His scandalous love.
I knew He loved me. I knew He loved us. I knew He loved this world. These were phrases I had spoken countless times, but phrases that only hit me for the first time this past week. And it's because I finally took a look at the story of the world from the perspective of the Almighty. And all of a sudden, I completely understood the rationale behind Jon Foreman's comment:
"It's easier for me to believe in God, than it is for me to believe that God loves me . . . . You look at this broken, decrepit struggle on our planet, and you think of the human race and all the atrocities we've committed, and then the atrocities we've committed in the name of Christ or Allah . . . and then there's this thing about God. How do you make sense of that? For me, [the leap of faith it takes to believe that God exists] is much smaller than believing that God loves me."
All of a sudden, I'm finding that I relate so deeply to this sentiment. Over the years, I've become absolutely convinced in God's existence. His fingerprints have been uncovered and unearthed and proven in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, archaeology, and every other scientific study. For me, there is no more question as to whether God is real or not. The evidence of His existence couldn't be more clear.
But there's still the issue of His love for us. His love for me. And taking a step back and looking at this fallen world... I'm wondering how we're still here. We are walking disasters. Ticking time-bombs. Breathing catastrophes. Wretched sinners causing more and more destruction with every step we take. We're killing each other, hating each other, and sometimes even enjoying it. We're pulling each other down as we claw our way towards the top. This world has turned its back on its Maker, and now lives in constant flames, fire, and fury. Death is relentless. Contempt saturates everything. We are decaying faster than ever thanks to our lusts, addictions, and unhealthy lifestyles. We are a perfect picture of hopelessness.
I can't count the number of blog posts I've deleted before I've published. Sometimes I'll start writing- and things go haywire. I lose my train of thought, I'm off on seven different rabbit trails, and pretty soon the whole thing is a train wreck. It's non-salvageable. So I quickly highlight it all, and hit the 'delete' button. I start from scratch.
It's the same story for the painter who finds that he has mixed the colours incorrectly, or regrets a misplaced brushstroke. Sometimes, you just need to scrap the project and start afresh. How many homework projects have you given up on and restarted? How many essays have you had to shake your head at and start over?
It's the easiest way. When we're too lazy to fix it, too frazzled to try to find the problem, and too annoyed to fix what we've made, it makes sense to start from the beginning with a fresh page; a clean slate; a blank document.
It's a technique that everyone uses.
Everyone except for God.
God created perfection, and watched as it ate itself alive. God created wholesomeness, and watched as it filled itself with bullet holes. God created beauty and watched as it wrecked itself, acting on its own volition. God created. And then watched as Creation destroyed itself.
But God didn't resort to a do-over. Even while we sinned and rebelled and rejected His call to a holy purpose, He chose to restore instead of destroy. Instead of giving up on us, He chose to fix us. Instead of scrapping the project called "humanity" and turning back time to before the Fall of Man, He chose to buy us back. He chose to redeem instead of redo. To save instead of scorn. To rescue instead of remake. To reclaim. To salvage. To revive.
If anyone had the opportunity and the right to abandon a dying project, it was God. It would have been easier than anything to simply snap His fingers and do away with our existence, and start again from dust. It would have been a quick fix- a split-second decision.
But He loved us. He loved us. The ones He had already made, and the ones He was planning to create. He loved us as individual personalities SO MUCH, that He chose to resurrect us. He could have eliminated us and hit the "Restart," but He decided instead to give us value. He decided that we were priceless. He decided that we were worth the sacrifice of His perfect Son. He chose to buy back the failed human race, using His own Son's blood as currency.
Ephesians 2:1-2, 3-8 - "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."
What a mystery. It's a riddle I've never even tried to solve because it's just too far beyond my realm of thought. It all sounds so absurd, so impossible, so illogical and ridiculous.... and it's the very fabric of the Gospel! It's no wonder people don't believe it.
The Gospel is not built on convicting scientific evidence and philosophical proofs and arguments of logic. It may be supported by these things, but it is primarily built on a foundation that makes no sense: God's love for the human race. The Gospel is constructed by backwards ideas: Love your enemy. Pray for your persecutor. Turn the other cheek. Rejoice in suffering. Boast in weakness. The Gospel is the truest thing on earth, and yet, it looks like insanity through the lens of the world.
God's plan for humanity has me scratching my head in confusion. What does He see in us that is worth salvaging? What does He see that is worth rescuing? Why has he deemed us worthy of being fixed instead of scrapped?
I can't answer these questions. They still stump me, and probably always will. I am unlovable, but for some reason the God of the Universe has this mad, unstoppable adoration for me. I am insignificant, but for some reason the Maker of the World wanted my soul for His own so badly, that He sacrificed His perfect Son. I was once a scoffer, a mocker, a critic, and an enemy of God. And for some unknown, crazy, ludicrous reason, He paid my insurmountable debt while I still hated Him! Although I've denied Him many more times than Peter, He still chose me. While I rejected Him, He accepted me. While I shouted at Him, He sang to me. While I tried to escape from Him, He was writing up big plans for me.
While I crucified Him... He resurrected me.
Oh, the deep, deep love of Jesus. Vast. Unmeasured. Boundless. FREE. Rolling as a mighty ocean is its fullness over me. Underneath me, all around me, is the current of thy Love- leading onward, leading homeward, to that glorious rest above.
There is absolutely nothing worth loving in me, so He gave me something worth loving: Jesus. There is absolutely no reason to keep me, so He gave me a reason: Jesus. His love never fails, it never gives up. It never runs out on me. This Love is unimaginable, unmeasured, abysmal, boundless, infinite, and deeper than anything we'll ever know. This Love is something we will never be able to comprehend- which is why whenever we get even a brief revelation of its depth, we are brought to our knees. We are reduced to tears. We are quieted. In the face of His deafening, roaring, overpowering, overwhelming Love, there is absolutely nothing we can say, or do, or think... except praise Him.
There is nothing I can do but accept this undeserved gift. If I were God, I probably would have chosen to delete my project and start again... but that's not what He's chosen to do. He still decided to give me breath. To give me a chance. To let us all experience a moment of life, and to choose between life and death; Heaven and Hell.
This is the Gospel. It's absolutely nonsensical, written by the King of Nonsense. It's unsolvable. Scandalous. Ridiculous. Incomprehensible. Unintelligible.
But it is and always will be truer than true.