God is Love

What comes to mind when you think of God’s Love? A question that we may or may not have asked ourselves in a while—or ever.

Personally, I think of the word “steadfast.” God’s Love is so strong and merciful that there will never be a time when we “run out.” After asking some of my close friends what words come to mind when they think of God’s Love, I was astounded by the wise words they expressed. I thought I should share some.

The words “unconditional” and “everlasting,” His mercy and endless search for us to find what God’s love truly is. The word “personal.” The Lord knows our inner struggles, the things we tell no one, and He affirms each of us in unique ways

What stood out to me most was how we know that God’s Love is greater than any other love. But are we truly aware that it will forever be unconditional? We sin and continue to fall short; yet, He meets us where we are.

For those of you who know me, know that I have zero sense of direction. Although I have lived in Auburn for all 18 years of my life, I still need directions to get from my house to Plainsman Park, only sometimes… as a “refresher.”

But when it comes to my faith journey, I know that I don’t have to worry about how I am getting from Point A to Point B. I may not even know what Point A or Point B is, but it doesn’t matter. God knows the rights, and lefts, and U-turns I have to take in order to get to where I need to be. God knows what I need before I even know I need it. His Love is so great that my worries about getting to where I need to be, include no chaos. In fact, there’s peace.

In one of our scripture readings from today, 1 John 4:11-21, the word “love” is said 18 times in just those 10 verses. In the entire Bible, “love” is said over 300 time. How important must it be if it is said so many times?

As children, there were plenty of times where we had to hear the same things over and over again in order to actually do the tasks: “Olivia, clean your room.” As 30 minutes pass, and I have not yet cleaned my room, I am going to hear that statement once more, if not twice. My mom might have asked me to clean my room a couple of times, sure. But, she did not mention over 300.

If the Bible mentions “love” over 300 times, the topic must be pretty important. What greater emphasis could be put on it? Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your brother and sister. Perfect Love drives out fear. God is Love. I could go on and on. We may find ourselves saying this word pretty often in our daily lives.

But over the summer, as a Summer Show-Offs camp counselor, I heard it every night in a song the staff would sing as a “thank you” to the lovely people who served us dinner. The song goes as follows: “Love one another, for love is of God. He who loves, is born of God and knows God. He who does not love, does not know God. For God is love, God is love.”

This prayer is so important, because it signifies God’s endless and everlasting Love, and why we should show the same to those around us.

This week-long day camp where we “build confidence and character through song and dance” taught me that love is the most important thing that we can live by.

Earlier in April, I went to my first training day of the year for camp, before it starts again this summer. I was reminded that the most important thing throughout the whole summer for every single counselor is to love their kids. God calls us to Love one another. What better way to show our love for God by reflecting it towards our campers each week?

If you cannot tell already, show choir is a big deal to me, and it is something that I love dearly. This year, our theme is based on Noah’s Ark. We sing many different hymns as the show progresses like: “Stand By Me,” “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less (Solid Rock)” and “Love Lifted Me.” In many of these hymns, God’s Love is mentioned like, “Love, please lift me. When nothing else would help, Love please” or, “Souls in danger look above. Oh, You who saves. Won’t you lift us by your Love, out of the angry waves.”

As we learned about the show and how to portray it best, I realized that Noah built a huge ark in the middle of nowhere before rain had begun to exist. People thought he was crazy. Noah didn’t mind all of the name calling because he knew that it was God telling him to do such a mind-boggling task. Noah trusted in something that nobody else did. His intentionality was thoroughly reflecting God’s Love by the trust he showed for God and the plan He had for him.

“When nothing else would help, love please lift me.”

God’s Love is so powerful that we can continue living a fruitful life knowing one thing: God is love. God’s love is so powerful that not only does he never forget or forsake us, but He loves and stays with us during our darkest moments. It lasts FOREVER.

As this is the fifth Sunday of Easter, I find it extremely important to reflect on the fact that God’s gift to us is something that we will never be able to repay. That is how much we are Loved. We are called to love others as a reflection of God’s love.

1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” All we are asked after this is to love everyone around us. God never said that Loving everyone would always be smooth sailing. We are complete when we accept God’s love, while loving everyone around us, including ourselves. We are how we treat each other and nothing more.

Love drives out fear. “There is no fear in love.”

So, how do we take these verses and apply them to our everyday lives? Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” If you love someone, you will always try to do what’s best for them. If someone loves you, they will always do what is best for you.

There are times when we truly don’t know what is best and we are just at a loss for what we should be doing and where we belong—times when we really need that map on our phone to tell us where we go next. Remember that God has a plan for you and you will never be alone, even if you feel like you’re in the dark

If you ever feel as if God is so far away from you and your mountains and valleys, remind yourself that no one yells and exclaims their presence to you if they’re sitting right beside you. Let me say that again: No one yells at you about their presence while right beside you, because they’re right here.

They’re so near. God is right here.

We will never be able to grasp the amount and strength of the love God has given each and every one of us. However, we have been given the chance to share the good news, which is that His Love is steady and everlasting.

God is Love.

Amen.

Auburn First Baptist Church