“I Want to Know What Love Is”

I’ve got nowhere left to hide
It looks like love has finally found me

In my life there’s been heartache and pain
I don’t know if I can face it again
I can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far
To change this lonely life

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me  – Foreigner

Corny quoting old pop song lyrics again so soon?  Oh yeah!  But corn can be good. Especially if it’s non-GMO blue corn, made into nachos with raw jalapeno cheese and served with a nice bowl of tomatillo salsa or some fresh guacamole with lemon, and minced garlic. But, I digress.

Since about junior high, walking with God has been anything but smooth sailing for me. Outsiders may not have noticed, but under the surface there has been all manner of churning and turbulence.  The intellectual component of belief in a Creator and the fulfillment of  Scripture have, for the most part, always made sense to me. The protection, provision, and providence of God have been real in my life. What has been difficult for this individual to grasp is the love of God for me.

I know He loves you and the rest of the 7 billion or so of us on this galactic carnival ride around the sun. There is just a part of me that struggles with the love of God for this imperfect person. I wanna be one of those smiley sunshine and rainbows kind of chicks who always has sparkles in her eyes and an ear to ear smile every time she hears the name Jesus. But the love of God for me, for whatever reason, is something I have struggled with and still do.

Theology, all the Sunday school lessons, and Bible verses tell me (and I believe) that He loves me.  But, I want to really feel and know it in my heart and guts not just in my mind. “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” Like Jacob, I am struggle with God.  (Unlike Jacob, I do not have two wives, two concubines, and at least thirteen children.) Jacob whose name God changed to Israel which is typically translated as “wrestles or strives with God” (and some have suggested: he will rule with God!)  That God’s chosen people go by the name “Strives with God” gives me hope.

So, back to Foreigner. One afternoon, driving south bound again with the radio on scan as I am praying, “Lord, help me get it. I want to really love You and know who You are.”  This song comes on. What?  What’s that these 80’s rock band guys are singing? Hey!  It’s  pretty much the same thing  I am praying (and still am praying.) “Lord, show me what it means to love  others and to love You. I want to know what real love is. Show me, please.” (And, that point I was singing along, crying and vying for a Tammy Faye Baker televangelist tear-jerker award.)

About five years have passed since that afternoon.  The wrestling has not ceased but seems to be less intense and futile with more frequent bouts of assurance in my heart and guts. I want to uncover the root of the lack of assurance so it can be weeded out for good. As Paul encouraged the Philippians, I will “continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.”

The Message puts Paul’s words differently than most:

Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

God is love. Love gives Him pleasure. So I will trust that He will continue to work the first hand knowledge of the height ,depth, and breadth of His love to me. Lord, help me to cease striving and know (in my heart and in my guts-not just in my head) that You are God. (Psalm 46:30) I do believe, please help me with my doubts. (Mark 9:24)

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