God's relentless love...
C.S. Lewis once said, "The great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His (God's) love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him." (Mere Christianity) Psalm 107:43 says, "Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD."
Psalm 17:7 talks about the wonder of God's great love.
Have you ever thought on that love? The Psalmist tells us to consider it, to ponder it, to see its wonder. C.S. Lewis calls God's love relentless.
Have you ever loved someone relentlessly? The dictionary defines relentless as "oppressively constant; incessant." We can't get away from it.
I can see God's love as relentless. I remember a time in my teen years when I wanted to get away from God. I had tried so desperately to be a "good" Christian, but on the inside, I was failing miserably. I could not take the pressure of striving to be "Christian" in my own strength. I had yet to grasp God's full forgiveness or the meaning of His love for me, but what I did discover, felt deep in my spirit, was that God would not let me go. I belonged to Him, and He wanted me to stay close to Him, to learn of Him, to trust Him. I had so much yet to learn. (Still do.)
God's pursuit of me at times grew relentless when I had sin in my heart - a spirit of bitterness I did not know existed. Sleepless nights and troubled days followed me at every turn until I finally saw the sin that God was trying, oh so gently, to point out to me. But it took time for me to see it.
Sometimes people find God's love confusing. They wonder how a God of love can allow evil to continue in the world. Why would God send calamities on earth, and why doesn't He stop bad things from happening to good people? These are all good questions.
But what if God's love meant that He allowed men a choice? What if in His love He incessantly wooed men and women to draw close to Him, so that He could wrap them in that very great, fantastic love?
Imagine a man who loves a woman and wants to marry her. He courts her, woos her, does all in his power to win her love. In some cultures, he might seek an arranged marriage and get to marry her whether she agrees or not, but he cannot make her love him. Love is given freely from the heart, a choice only we can make. We can request it, seek it, even die for it, but we cannot demand the one we love to love us in return.
Now God, being who He is, could have made us without that ability to choose. Had He done so, we would live in a world where evil did not exist because God would not have allowed us the choice to love Him or not. We would have loved him because we would not have known anything different. But by the very nature of love, He would not do that. If love were a demand, something that could not be refused, we would lose the greatness of love. Where would the sacrifice be? Where would the joy of giving love freely as a gift to the beloved come from?
It is a testament to the greatness of God's love that He allows men and women to freely decide whether to love Him, or not. It is that love that allows choice that in turn brings about evil in the world; for evil, in a nutshell, is man choosing to reject love, which pits man against his fellow man. In his pride, he moves further and further from compassion and grace and mercy - all elements of God's love.
We may not always feel that God loves us - especially when things in life go awry and we are faced with the problem of evil in the world. But we must remember that our feelings are not reliable. Our feelings come and go. God's love for us does not.
"Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD."