Sometimes (God’s) Love Hurts

Deep down, we live with this belief that love will give us everything that we want. It will fulfill us and tell us what we want to hear. Love will guide us to positive emotions and mornings filled with perfect cups of coffee and heart shaped pancakes. Love will be that soft, warm blanket that always seems to help us sleep just a little bit deeper.

But true love is not like that.

True love doesn’t look like a sappy chick-flick or read like a romance novel. It doesn’t guarantee each day will begin with bluebirds singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. No, true love is something different.

True love is honest.

True love is firm.

True love knows what is best for our lives and motivates us to achieve it.

And that is exactly what we need.

But sometimes this kind of love can hurt. And when God is the One that is spurring us to engage with what it is best for our lives, it can hurt even worse. God knows every inch of our soul. He knows our deepest longings and future dreams, even when fear keeps them buried deep inside. So, when God reveals something to us, when He encourages us to advance forward, it can sting a little because He knows how to get to us the most. God knows exactly what buttons to push that will cause a deep, emotional, heart wrenching response. Just think of Peter in the Bible after He denied Jesus three times during the crucifixion. The very next time Jesus sees Peter, He asks him, “Do you love me?” And how many times does Jesus ask Peter this? Three times. No coincidence. Jesus knew exactly what Peter needed.

That’s true love.

That’s the love that only God, who knows us completely and intimately, can deliver.

God’s Love is Like a Storm

Recently, I resigned from my job. It was not an easy choice. For months, my wife and I discussed, thought about, and prayed over this decision. Ultimately, we knew this was what God was leading us to do. We had (and have) 100% peace about our move. But there is one key piece of info about this story. We have no idea what is supposed to happen next. When I resigned, I had no job lined up. We still don’t know what is going to happen. In less than 6 weeks, we are moving from Alabama, and we do not know where we will live and how I will provide for my family.

When we first decided it was time to move, this wasn’t the plan. We were going to go the traditional route. Start looking. Find a good job. Give a decent notice to help with the transition. And then move on like God is calling us to do. But God didn’t want it to be traditional, I guess. He didn’t want it to be safe.

God wanted our faith.

He wanted us to risk.

So, through a few key circumstances that were outside of control, our original plan was not going to work out. But we still felt God’s calling and His peace. So, we moved ahead with our decision.

At the same time, a song got stuck in my head. It was a worship song by one of the many Hillsong groups, called Young & Free. The song is called Gracious Tempest. (You can listen/watch it here. But here is the version that was stuck in my head with a different vocalist.)

One phrase kept coming back to me over and over, again.

Your love is like a storm. -Gracious Tempest

So many times, we think God’s will is the answer to all of our problems. If we could just find His will, everything would be ok. Life wouldn’t suck, and all our pain will melt away. But that isn’t true. God’s will is one of the most uncertain places we can be. Yet, like a storm, it is awe-inspiring!

I knew I was in God’s will. I had 100% peace. And yet, one day I found myself alone in my car, listening to Gracious Tempest, with tears rolling down my cheeks.

I was afraid. I was scared. But I knew I was loved.

God’s love hurts sometimes. He calls us to places we don’t want to go, both physically and emotionally. He knows the deepest desires of our heart, both the beautiful and the despicable. His words cut through our pride and narcissism until our flesh is laid bare.

But if we engage the process and refuse to turn our backs to our Father, we will discover it is exactly what we need. It is the truest of loves that we long for and our heart desires. It is love that completes us. It makes us whole.

Your love is crashing over me
Surging like a raging sea
Immerse me in the wonder of Your love
-Gracious Tempest

I still don’t know what I am doing in May. Honestly, I am praying for some big miracles. But no matter what the future holds, I am experiencing a storm of God’s love right now that I cannot fully explain. “A downpour of unending grace” is flooding our lives. And, yes, sometimes it hurts. It is stretching us to our limits, forcing us to trust God and dive into our Faith.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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