There’s knowing, and then there’s knowing
Well, it’s happened again. Just when I’m about to quit Facebook…except for Scrabble…I can’t quit Scrabble. Scrabble to me is what working out is to others…I need it, am rejuvenated by it, and it gives me an opportunity to show off my abs (and xis, qis, and zas). But I digress. I was about ready to forego updates on what all my friends had been doing and what their friends whom I don’t even know had been doing and what recipes are trending now and what little meme or video clip will just make my day, so as to spare myself the unpleasantness of the continuing post-election acrimony, accusations, and angst. And then I saw this:
I click on very few of the video clips shared on my news feed, even the baby animal ones. But the baby humans…aww, babies. I love babies, and not just because they’re cute and funny but because they’re innocent and unaffected. So I saw this one and thought, two laughing babies? Can’t pass this one up, and I clicked.
And I smiled (‘cause it takes a lot to get me to laugh…ask my husband), and right away thought, boy, if we could all be as openly joyful and unhindered and unrestrained by our differences…damn, this would be a great world to be living in. And then I noticed the red stripes on the one child’s high chair and the blue on the other. Perfect. And I shared it, with this simple comment, “My vision of how our country could be if we all truly knew the love of God. (Notice the red and blue.) This is beautiful.”
Afterwards I feared that some may have misunderstood me to be saying that not all of us are loved BY God, but that’s not what I meant at all. Here’s what I do mean:
- First, we must believe God exists to know his love.
- Then we must acknowledge him as a personal, loving being who created us.
- But if I am to know his love I have to go further than that and believe that he loves me personally.
If I stop there I still don’t know the love of God in the sense that I mean. I know about his love but I don’t know it in the sense of experiencing it. It’s the difference between knowing the periodic table and knowing your spouse. If I am to experience God’s love I have to go beyond assenting to the reality of it because steps one to three can be true of me but I can still choose to reject him and his love. And that would be like rejecting your spouse…or your parents…or your kids…or anyone else whom you know loves you but you want nothing to do with.
To know the love of God requires entering into a relationship with him, and since he’s God and we’re not, he gets to decide how that happens. One might think that cleaning ourselves up first is part of the deal. Thank him it’s not. Here’s step four:
4. Acknowledge my uncleanness and need for him, submit to him in faith, and receive his salvation which is the ultimate expression of his love because it was wrought by the life and sacrificial death on the cross of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
When we do that God responds with a radical, amazing, life-changing gift…himself. Himself! He gives us his Spirit, making us spiritually alive and sons and daughters of his in a real relationship of love. This is his desire for each of us, and if it were realized…oh, what peace and harmony we would enjoy.
I’ve wanted to quit Facebook before, but something always gives me a reason to stay engaged…besides Scrabble. This time it was a beautiful reminder of the joyful and even uproarious communion with others that can be ours if we all like little children abandon ourselves in total trust in and dependence on our Father who loves us. I know these laughing babies make him smile too. Would that we would all try and give him something to smile about.