Friday, September 30, 2005

How much do you love me?

Lately God has had me thinking about the way He loves me. This was brought about by an exercise in listening to God in our Bible study. We were told to ask God, "How much do you love me?" and wait for a response. I fully believe God speaks to us, but I don't usually just sit there and wait for an answer. It's more of a "so get back to me on that when you've got a chance" attitude. But this time, I just listened and this is what He said: The cross.

Now, in my mind I know that what Christ did on the cross demonstrates His love for me. But I have to admit that at times it feels a little impersonal. Christ died for me, but He died for everyone. It's like saying, "You're unique, just like everyone else." Who's to say I didn't get caught up in the cosmic mix of humanity? So I said, "God, if that's what you're telling me, you're going to have to explain that a bit." And of course, He did. In fact, He hasn't stopped explaining it to me for the past two weeks.

I often say that I love people "to death." Example - my brother Christopher. I rarely talk about him to others without saying, "I love him to death." I literally can't imagine life without him without getting choked up. That's the depth of emotion he evokes in my heart. God reminded me of that and said, "Gina, I loved you to death. I looked at you and said, 'I can't imagine eternity without her.' And so I went to the cross."

I just watched First Knight, and God said, "Gina, that's what I did for you. Lancelot diving into the water, jumping through fire, fighting the enemy for Gueneviere, that's what I did at the cross. That desire you have in you for a hero, who will sneak into enemy territory, break down the walls, slay the dragon, climb the highest tower because of his love for you - that's what I did at the cross."

I know that my love for others is human. And while sometimes my love for others is so strong it consumes me, at other times I know I must choose to act in love despite my feelings (or lack thereof). And I guess sometimes I think God feels this way about me - despite my sin, He will choose to love me. But God's love is not human love. He is the source of love. I am reminded of what Brennan Manning said in the Ragamuffin Gospel, "Don't ever compare your thin, pallid, wavering and moody love with my love, for I am God, not man."

So what He has been daily, and in so many ways (books, friends, songs, movies, thoughts) reminding me is the great emotion behind the cross. The cross was not simply an act of the will, but a passionate, daring, emotion-driven rescue of those He loved more than life itself. My heart is thrilled with this reminder of His love for me.


Chris B. said...

Look out! We've got a narrative theologian on our hands. I loved the movie Big Fish, because it made the point that sometimes, the truth about someone is how they portray who they see themselves to be. And in an odd way, the legend about someone becomes who they really were. I loved that point, because when I think about Jesus, I know that the legend about Jesus is more than just what he wanted to say to humanity. The legend about Jesus is what really happened, and I'm part of the story. CS Lewis became a Christian when he realized, "In the resurrection, myth becomes reality." All that longing we have for a hero is because we long for Christ. I love this post more than almost any post you've ever posted, and I love you to death too, sis.

Gina Marie said...

It's funny because when we were sharing in Bible study, one woman said what she heard God say to her when she asked, "Do you love me?" was the equivalent of "Duh!" On the one hand, I thought, "Gosh, that's great if you've never doubted God's love for you." On the other, I pitied her. I guess the starving appreciate food more than the well-fed.

Michelle said...

Now I'm tearing up in front of my advisory students. I can barely :) hold it back. thanks very much for this post. I cherish it as well.