When my kids were little I found a new kind of coloring book. All you needed in order to paint was water. You dip your brush in the water and “Whallah!” the picture would come alive with color. In the lines of the drawing was imbedded paint that only appeared when you added the water to it. The brilliance of it was that there was no paint on furniture, clothing or faces…or at least not as much. (I’m sure you artists find this to be a terrible idea that limits creativity. True, but go with me for the sake of the snapshot.)
In my life and in conversation with others I find that people without love are like the pages of those coloring books. There is the potential for beauty and color but it remains embedded in the outline of their life. People who have not been loved or who don’t know how to love never seem to capture the joy and possibility that comes only through people. Yes, people can be challenging and disappointing….but so are you. Love is what allows all of us strange, complicated, unfinished people to come alive and thrive.
Being that we are pretty limited in our ability to love perfectly, it seems obvious to me that we are desperate for a love that can turn black and white into living color. My sisters and I were very loved by Mom. Honestly, everything she did was done for us…to feed us, clothe us and keep a roof over our heads. That meant she had to work a minimum of two jobs, which meant we spent a lot of time taking care of each other. I adore my sisters. I love them so much. But I’m guessing my love was somewhat less than perfect as I tried to rule the house in Mom’s absence. (No, no one asked me to take over…it was my gift to them.) As I grew up and discovered how imperfect my love was and how deeply I needed a healing love, I slowly learned to let God’s love seep into the most broken and hurt places. His love is powerful but my resistance was high because I’d learned so well how to protect myself. The problem comes as we end up living our black and white lives when color is just below the surface waiting to be set free.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” [The Weight of Glory]
In my years of counseling I’ve talked to so many people who are “ok” with their life as it is because its better than it was or it’s ‘good enough.’ I get that. But just as the first blush of romantic love literally transforms our world, in even greater ways the love of God touches everything and colors it with hope and life. I don’t know what your story might be today but I know that we are all in the market for someone or something to bring peace and healing, or maybe just to blow out our limited expectations and experience our very best life.
Even if you feel contented enough today, are you willing to read a little more?
Perhaps you used to think a lot about God but don’t anymore; or maybe you’ve never even considered Him. Possibly you are someone experiencing God’s love every day. Whatever your situation I invite you…encourage you…to turn your heart and thoughts toward Him today. Even just “Hey God” is a beginning when we turn our attention to the one who loves us beyond understanding. Nobody on this planet thinks you’re as awesome as God does. Surely that’s worth a conversation, right?
The verses below offer promises and encouragements in God’s love. I pray that they bless you. If you would like to communicate further about a relationship with God and you don’t have a personal connection to someone you trust in this area, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I would be happy to talk with you.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.
Ephesians 3:17-19 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Romans 8:34-37 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?… 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
John 3:16-18 (The Message) “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
Jeremiah 31:3 Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
Romans 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Ephesians 2:4,5 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
1 John 3:16-17 (The Message) This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.