(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Editor’s Note: April, 2021
By Sarah Komisky
Love. How can one word evoke so many emotions at once? How can it encompass happiness and sadness? Pure elation and tragic heartbreak? Love is a complexity.
When we run from it, it inhibits us.
When we receive it, it brings joy to us.
When we withhold it, it damages us.
When we reject it, it pangs us.
When we give it freely, it gives life to us.
When we experience it, it changes us.
When we choose it, it transforms.
Interestingly, we are created with an innate need for love. Just hearing our mother’s voice provides comfort when she speaks overs us. On the other hand, we become malnourished when we are neglected of the basic needs of touch, affirmation, emotional support and physical presence. Clearly, these three words, “I love you” can completely change everything.
In the Bible, God Himself says that He is the embodiment of love (1 John 4:7). Love is seen from Genesis to Revelation. From beginning to end, the message is evident – we are loved. In Jesus’ life we see it lived out through his interactions with others, his words, and his sacrifice for humanity. Additionally, Jesus Himself said that all of law and commandments are based on one thing – loving God with all ourselves and then as an overflow of that love, we love others. God is depicted as a husband and at other times, a father; both illustrate His love.
“It will come about at that time, “declares the Lord, “that you will address me as ‘My husband,’ and you will no longer call me ‘My master.’”
- Hosea 2:16 (ISV)
“The Lord you God is with you; his power gives you victory. The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you…”
- Zephaniah 3:17 (GNT)
Other versions read, “in his love he will renew you..” (ISV), “he will rest in his love” (KJV), and in the New Living Translation it reads, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fear. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
In the contemporary English Version in the says, “Israel, I will always love you…” In other translations it uses the words “with lovingkindness I have drawn you,” and in the NIRV translation it notes, “…I have kept on loving you with a kindness that never fails.”
John 3:16 (the most quoted verse of the Bible) sums up Jesus’ mission of love by saying, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The concept seems incomprehensible. Paul in the Bible actually said that the love of God is so vast that his hope was for others to come to an understanding of the height, width, depth of the experiential knowledge of God’s love. (Ephesians 3:18). Incredible.
Yet, since God’s love is unconditional, we have a hard time understanding it. Life experiences complicate, taint, and prevent us from receiving and living under that love. In fact, many of us have skewed views of God because of being misinformed when it came to the character of God Himself. Our introductions to God were not good. Love was absent and therefore, our hearts disconnected from receiving his love. Others have had insufficiencies relationally when it comes to love and some have had both. All of it has made us cynical, skeptical, and nonreceptive. All of it has damaged our hearts and minds.
In a world that is highly self-centered, increasingly hateful, and quick to give us synthetic versions of love masked as lust, how do we find the real deal?
People have let us down. Sometimes we doubt if God will do the same. So where do we turn for corrective experiences?
This April, we felt it would be fitting to go back to basics as we enter this Easter season. Together, we’re going to unlock what it means to love others and what it means to be loved by God. We will ask questions. We will ponder this fundamental truth and give encouragement to get back to the life of our hearts with the help of our writers and photographers at MM.
In the journey we will chat with our new showcase guest, Naomi Raine (Maverick City Music) about God’s love seen in music, community, and through diversity. We will be encouraged toward unity in a special book excerpt from Francis Chan’s newest release, “Until Unity.” And, we will be encouraged in hope by checking out an exclusive interview from Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” live-action film portal entitled, “The Living Tableau.” You’ll hear a tribute to legendary CCM artist Carman in my new interview by Pilgrim Radio’s Patrick Herman. On the flipside, you will get to hear from Patrick with his newest piece on love of a father. And, you will meet one of our newest contributors from The Rock Church, Brandon Harrison in Marked Men.
We pray our articles take you back to a relational experience of understanding the love of God and in turn, share it with others.
Overall, may you know, you are loved.