The Absurdity of Love

My mother is in a nursing home and on my last visit one of the tasks given to me by the staff was to get her wedding rings off her finger. Her hands had swollen and for safety reasons they needed to come off. She was not having any part of that plan. On my last day, I massaged her hands and with the help of a nurse, the rings came off. What followed were memories and tears for both of us. My dad died 14 years ago and we rehearsed fond memories of a good man. She handed me her rings and in tears said, “these have been on my finger for a long time.” This week will have been 70 years.

I was impacted by this experience, not only because it is the history of my parents, but more so because it was a God encounter. Those rings represented two people whose lives together were examples of 1 John 4:16b: “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” It seems then that one of the most visual models for seeing God is in our relationships. The family is used frequently as representation of God’s love in scripture. He was often portrayed as a husband or father to Israel. Yet the ride was not easy! There was betrayal, unfaithfulness, and rebellion that should have caused God to walk away. Nehemiah 9 is one of my favorite chapters that recount the history of this mostly rocky   relationship. Over and over again the phrase to describe God goes     something like this: “…but you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and   merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and would not forsake them” (9:17). That is totally absurd.

In philosophy, absurd refers to the conflict between trying to find meaning in life and the inability to find any. It does not mean it is logically impossible, but that it is humanly impossible. A relationship described in Nehemiah 9 is irrational and ludicrous and humanly impossible. Perhaps that is why John reiterates in his epistle that it is God IN us that can make what is impossible for us to become possible.

Here are some action steps we might take so that our relationships reflect God in us:

  • Begin each day making sure our hearts have checked in with God to set them pure.
  • Communicate with God throughout the day, asking for His Spirit to bear fruit in us in every relationship.
  • Feed on the Word to nourish our spirit and mind.
  • Trust in God to do something out of your comfort zone to demonstrate a caring heart.
  • Ask ourselves often, “In this situation, how would God respond in His steadfast love?”
  • Make our last waking thought be one of gratitude for all opportunities God has given us that day to show His love.