Stop Saying "God Loves You"
My heart has been wrecked this week. In the best possible ways, and in the way that requires desperate trust in a Father who loves us beyond reason.
At the start of the summer I was preparing for an interview in regards to launching my book. The interviewer asked me what was my main goal in publishing it? What was the takeaway I wanted the reader to receive?
I smiled confidently and without hesitation, replied, "That they would grasp the heights, and widths, and depths of God's love, getting even just a glimpse into how much he loves them."
My interviewer blinked. "Yeah, but I don't think you want to say that."
"Why not?" I blushed.
"It just sounds liked a canned answer. Too generic."
"Hmmm" I thought of what other reason I could possibly give.
When God's love flooded my heart a few years ago it was earth shattering. Spying on it from my angle, it seemed mind bending. I spent much time marveling and relishing in it's dimensions. That's really where the book was birthed. I couldn't stop talking about it, pondering it, writing about it.
I found a new Bible Translation today, and would you just look at that?
"If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.
This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen." (1 Corinthians 13: 1-8 PHILLIPS)
Is this not the most beautiful thing you've ever read? Don't read it as a task list this time. Read it as if THAT LOVE IS FOR YOU. It's not just available to you, it already is. His love is in motion. It wins every challenge, calms every tantrum, brushes away every wicked tendency. Just look at it. Relish in it with me.
God's love was explained to me in the most beautiful of ways today. I was listening to my hero speak a sermon titled, "God's Love." Her name is Corrie Ten Boom. She died decades ago but thanks to technology I got to spend time with her today. She ran an extensive underground network of safe houses for Jews during the Holocaust. Her family put their own lives at risk, ultimately paying a dear price for their work and convictions.
But how is one ripped away from all earthly possessions, deprived of their own loving family as many were killed, and she herself suffered terribly under Nazi abuse. How does one walk away from that and spend her life traveling— telling people about God's love? What kind of love is that?!
One worth exploring I'd say.
Two poor brothers visited an ocean for the first time. The first, astonished at the magnificent roar exclaimed, “Brother, look at all of that water!”
The second replied, “But, we haven't seen anything yet. This is only the top!”
That is the best description of God’s love I’ve ever heard.
We can only see a bit of the ocean standing on this rocky shore. There are depths and vastness to God’s love. Keep peering in. Keep exploring. Press in. Persist and stare longer. If you hear, "God loves you" don't yawn it away.
This is only just the top.
Shauna Shanks is a wife, mother, and blogger. She published her first book, A Fierce Love in summer 2017. She graduated from Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, with a focus on world missions. Shauna and her husband, Micah, who is a police officer, have been married for more than a decade, and they are building a house out of shipping containers with their three boys on an Ohio farm.