You might have seen the popular slogan, “Eat, Sleep and Repeat,” but the reality is that we need more than food, sleep and shelter to survive. In the 1990s, children in Romanian orphanages suffered from lack of love in the form of physical affection. Although the infants were fed, diapered and bathed on a set schedule, they didn’t receive any other physical affection and lay in their cribs isolated and alone. When these kids grew up, they struggled with controlling their emotions, connecting to others and staying in school.
Love is important for everyone. Love increases the longevity and quality of life. If you asked your grandparents what makes them feel the happiest, most would say the relationships they formed. The more love and support people give, the longer and fuller their lives will probably be.
As Christians, we understand that God has created us to thrive by receiving and giving love. The fact that God integrated love so deeply into the human framework speaks to His vision before the fall: a system where He provides for us, and we reciprocate by surrendering our hearts to Him. If we are made in the image of God and love was designed as our center, then love must also be the center of God.
This centrality of love in God’s character is illustrated in the Bible, especially with His gift of salvation. Even when the Bible depicts God in forms that may scare us, we can still see His love displayed intensely through the descriptions.
When the prophet Ezekiel encountered the Lord, he “looked, and [saw]…a great cloud, with fire infolding itself.” (Ezekiel 1:4).
That’s certainly a frightening, intense vision! But even though fire is associated with destruction, it also represents warmth. This fire was also described as “infolding.” This is dynamic, and in today’s words, it would be spherical. With these metaphors, Ezekiel provides a physical representation to illustrate God’s love: pursuing, all-encompassing, His fear-inspiring glory along with the fierce warmth of His love.
So why don’t we always feel this all-consuming, fierce, selfless love when we try to encounter God?
There are multiple answers, but let’s look at one: We’re separated from God by sin. While on this earth, we cannot expect to always feel God’s love and presence. Satan continues to twist this world and change our feelings to null our perception of God’s love. Sometimes we must walk with God based on knowledge, not just on feelings. Just by examining our design, we know God created a system of life around love.
So, even when the separation of sin stings at low points in our walk with God, we can still experience His love by claiming such Biblical truths:
“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Written by: Charlotte Ishikawa