“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
1 John 4:10
That tingling in the toes, all the stars dancing, butterflies in the stomach? The Hallmark Hollywood version?
Nope. Not it.
Fun, exciting, exhilarating even – but not even close.
That awe as you explore the tiny toes, watch every little move, get to know your newborn?
That instinct to protect, to nurture, to sacrifice the last brownie for the sake of your child?
That impulse to put your life on the line to serve and protect a stranger? Think police officer, EMT, frontline workers, military personnel.
Hmmm. Yes, getting very close.
That plan to send a beloved Son to take all of our sinfulness onto Himself so that by faith we could be clean enough to spend eternity in God’s presence?
There. That’s it.
Movies make real love look like a feeling that can be worked up simply because someone is attractive and the moon is out. But that falls so short! Romance is a beautiful thing, don’t get me wrong. But real, actual love between partners is something so beyond those initial feelings.
It’s more about working for the good of another. Sacrificial acts that out the other’s needs first. Plodding through the ordinary mundane of daily life alongside someone who isn’t always acting pretty.
The love we feel for our children is a powerful force. I remember being at a family wedding with my son who was only a few months old. Another little fellow noticed him and came to play with ‘baby’. He was patting my wee one on the cheek when he gave baby a resounding slap. I was shocked at the mama grizzly that was awoken in that moment – my instinct was to toss the slapper through the window! (You’ll be happy to know I resisted the impulse and instead picked my son up to comfort him.)
But even more powerful than the love we hold our children, or the drive to lay down your own life in a life of public service for political or personal reasons, is God’s love.
Heaven is a perfect place.
We are – not. Decidedly not.
God is a God of perfect justice. He cannot look upon evil or tolerate it in His perfectly holy presence. So He did the unthinkable to make a way for us, fallible and imperfect, to be with Him.
He sent His perfect Son to be a perfect substitution for us.
Easter is about love.
A love that would lay everything on the line to make sure that there was a way for us to become clean and pure enough for the perfection of God’s presence.
I don’t know if we are even capable of understanding a love like that, let alone living it out daily.
Learn to live in this true love with me?
Father, this move of Yours is incomprehensible. We know how imperfect we are, how selfish, how headstrong. Yet You went to such great lengths to save us. Give us fresh insight into this love in this Easter season. Amen.