How do we allow God’s love to permeate our lives, to fill us up to overflowing with a steadfast confidence in His goodness? How can we become convinced that He is faithful and kind? Many of us know the theory of God’s love, but we lack certainty in our hearts. How does His love make that journey from our head to our heart where it becomes a tangible, unwavering force in our lives?
It is not a single event that completes this move, but instead it is a life-long journey as we are drawn incrementally, year by year, circumstance by circumstance, closer to God’s love for us. At times, we can point to specific experiences that strengthen our ability to trust Him with our hearts so that we do not merely acknowledge His love, but instead we believe His love.
How did God’s love move from my head to my heart?
One season of significant growth in my life was initiated by my mom’s prayer requesting that the knowledge of God’s love move from my head to my heart. Caution! This is an important but risky request. Removing the barriers that keep God’s love out of our hearts may involve a few bumps in the road. Soon after my mom prayed for me, I decided that I was finished with God. I requested to stop attending church, and determined that I did not want to follow Christ any longer.
As my parents frantically petitioned the Lord on my behalf, God impressed upon my mom, “This is My answer to your prayer.”
“What?!” she responded incredulously, “What prayer was that? Can I take it back?”
She sensed His reply, “Remember when you prayed that Mindy would know with certainty that I love her unconditionally? Well, I’m in the process of answering your prayer in her life.”
Jehovah God wanted me to know that there is nothing I can do to earn His love, and there is nothing I can do to lose it. He loves me because He is love. His nature is love. I thought I needed to perform for acceptance. The Lord wished to remove this barrier so I could know that my performance is of little consequence. He loves us because He is love, not because we are good enough to earn His love.
The best way for me to experience this was to turn away from Him so that He could prove that He never gives up on me; He never stops loving me, and my relationship with Him is based not on my goodness, but on His faithfulness. It took about a year and a half of wandering, trying to find meaning in the wisdom of the world, but eventually I returned to my first Love, at last convinced of His unwavering love for me.
I am convinced
In Romans chapter 8, Paul describes the importance of freeing our mind from fleshly desires, and instead learning to live in accordance to the Holy Spirit (verse 5). This shift moves us into a place of life and peace, positioned to trust in God’s love. When we allow Holy Spirit to speak into our mind and heart, we see ourselves as insiders, not outsiders. We do not live as fearful slaves, but instead we are adopted as heirs in God’s family, and our hearts cry out, “Abba, Father.” (verse 15)
Finding life alongside the Spirit rather than the flesh, or sin nature, leads us into an intimate place of knowing God: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (I Corinthians 2:14, NIV)
When our mind knows and our heart responds to God, we are convinced that His love is not at all foolish. It is difficult to comprehend a love so true, so perfect and unfailing, yet with our heart connected to Holy Spirit, we are able to believe this outrageous claim:
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38, NLT)
Can this be true? When we feel the powers of hell attacking, we can respond without fear from a steadfast heart, shielded by faith which believes in a God who is able, in a sacred love that is unwavering.
God’s love revealed through Boaz
Boaz did not have the advantage of reading Romans 8, and yet his life exemplifies a true and Godly love in the story of Ruth. He is the Kinsman Redeemer, positioned to rescue this young widow, a foreigner from Moab, to graft her into the royal family line of King David and Jesus Himself. This is a picture of our God who invites us to become His children, complete with an inheritance of the grandest proportions.
As I read Ruth chapter 2, a question arises, “How did she ‘happen to go to the part of the field belonging to Boaz’ to glean?” (verse 3) Why doesn’t the account give God the credit? Surely He led her. My word study leaves me stunned. The verse is made up of two seemingly opposite Hebrew words paired together: “her ‘accidental’ (miqreh ) gleaning on Boaz’s field is actually an ‘appointment’ (one of the meanings of qarah ).” This is no accident.
This is our God! His love is a powerful force that draws us into life, into redemption, into restoration. God’s love makes an “appointment” for Ruth to “accidentally” find her way to her Kinsman Redeemer. What a picture of Jesus’ unwavering love that draws us to His heart where we are made whole, and relieved of the suffering that threatens to destroy us.
The Father’s pure, gentle, powerful love is too fantastic for our mind to grasp. We need Holy Spirit to come to the rescue: “ ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ — the things God has prepared for those who love him — these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV)
Your good Father wishes to reveal the love story He has prepared for you. You may not be able to conceive what He has ready and waiting, but your heart believes that it is available, and God has appointed for you to find it. May you “accidentally” find your way to the inheritance that Jehovah God has prepared in advance to provide exactly what you need right now. Today. Pure. Redeeming. Love.