Have you ever read a part of scripture and thought: “Really, God? That seems a bit over the top, even for you.” Sometimes reading though scripture feels like your watching a Tim Burton movie—constant special effects and weird stuff happening everywhere. There are bushes that catch on fire, the parting of waterways, multitudes of angelic choruses singing together, and dead people rising from the grave. Have you ever read one of God’s miracles and thought God was a bit too theatrical? Or perhaps thought that he likes grand gestures a bit too much? By the time you reach the New Testament you begin to think that maybe God is bragging just a bit, almost as if to say “Look what I can do next!”
Perhaps God is a bit theatrical at times, constantly showcasing his power through signs and wonders, all the while continually reaching out to his creation time and time again. There are moments when God seems too forgiving and too loving. There are moments when he says one thing and then does another. He tells his people he is going to bring calamity upon them and then decides to give them a second chance (well, more like a thousand second chances). Just when you think he has finally done enough, voila! He strikes again, reaching out to touch his creation once more. In fact, we begin to see that God never tires of reaching out to his people.
As God reaches out to his people, he begins to appear as this greater pursuer. He is deliberate, patient and tenacious. But what exactly is he pursuing?
One of the things God seems pretty keen on is getting his people to recognize his love for them. God keeps sending all of these reminders in the scriptures that he is close to his creation, cares for them, and has their best interests at heart. His love is so grand that uniformity alone would not do it justice. God could have chosen to make every person reciprocate this love automatically. He could have made us robots. But forced love, is not really love at all. Love is a choice. God chose to love us and allows us to choose to love him back. However, his love is never contingent on our love. In fact, his love cannot be defined in our own limited understanding of what love should be. His love is infinite, pure and unending. God is a patient lover who has made the first move. He waits for us to return the gesture, all the while showing us that His love is eternal and will never fade out. Brennan Manning puts it this way: "Human love will always be a faint shadow of God’s love. Not because it is too sugary or sentimental, but simply because it can never compare from whence it comes. Human love, with all its passion and emotion, is a thin echo of the passion/emotion love of Yahweh."
I wonder if that is why the psalmist can cry out “Your love is better than life.” Or why he can pray to God: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Satisfy us with your unfailing love? That is a bold request. Could it be that God’s love is so good and so strong that it can do just that? That it can satisfy us.
That is a word we don’t hear very often. It seems like most of us are very unsatisfied. We keep searching for the next thing, the next love or the next relationship that will finally give us peace. It’s a Never-Ending Story—and not a cool one that has mythical far away places and giant flying dogs.
God’s love is not far away or distant. His love has no contingencies. It is real. It is unfailing. And it is all-satisfying. I wonder if God is really a hopeless romantic at heart and he delights in wooing and awing his creation. Perhaps he is the greatest romantic that exists. And maybe every time we take part in a little romance or choose to show some grand gesture of our affection to someone we love, we are, in fact, acting like our creator. Perhaps romance is a sign that we are partnering with God in an epic love story that has existed since the beginning of time. We are choosing to love and be loved. We are embracing the hopeless romantic inside all of us.