Monday, January 16, 2012

Agape-Love: The Substance of God

The little group stopped along the highway and looked in silent horror, some queasy with disgust, others growing fierce with rage. A short distance off the road, at the top of a gentle rise, a man had been viciously attacked. The grizzly scene glinted red with blood where the hapless victim had been mortally wounded and left to die. It appeared there was nothing more to be done, as already a small crowd had assembled at the site, presumably to administer first aid.

The travelers stood entranced, caught in the despair of senseless waste. “This is the work of Satan,” the businessman finally thought aloud.

“No, this evil comes from wicked men,” the housewife responded, her eyes transfixed on the scene.

“You don’t know that,” interjected her girlfriend excitedly. “This could be the work of God. It could be that the victim was wicked and this was God’s righteous judgment.”

Another stepped in to calm them, “But then again if God caused this, maybe he meant it for some higher purpose, unknown to us. He might even somehow use this terrible act for his glory!” he offered hopefully.

“Are you crazy?” retorted the preacher. “We worship a God of love! Our God would never allow this!” he stormed, eyes flaring with anger.

The little group buzzed with concurrence, then slowly turned back to the road and resumed their journey, affirming their denunciation of the crime as they continued on their way. All of them oblivious to the Roman soldiers who were gambling for a cloak.

Love is the most misunderstood word in existence. To many it means little more than a physical craving. To others it is an intense emotional dependency.

To some people love is a character trait of God, which is manifest in peace, success, and happiness. It is that special blessing of God that meets their needs and fulfills their wants. Because God loves them, he gives them all the good things of earth to enjoy. To them, anyone who is smiling, or lounging in earthly wealth, is obviously centered in the love of God. For these people, God’s love creates a fondness for the things of earth and a coddling affection for all its creatures, in a soupy, mind-numbing bliss.

But to a few of earth’s voyagers, love is something entirely different, something not of this world. It is a wisdom that energizes every action in the universe, whether it appears as good or evil.

If you had stopped along the road and witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus, would you have recognized it as the supreme love of God? How is the love of God displayed in his slanderous betrayal and murder? Would this be the love of God if it happened to you?

G Russell

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