Episode 1. We All Need Love
We’ve been created to love and to be loved. In fact, after our immediate physical needs, love is the greatest need of all. But in this world, that is so confused about love, what is it, and how do we get it? Have you ever wondered what the greatest and most immediate human need is […]
We’ve been created to love and to be loved. In fact, after our immediate physical needs, love is the greatest need of all. But in this world, that is so confused about love, what is it, and how do we get it?
Have you ever wondered what the greatest and most immediate human need is in life? Well you don’t have to think about it very long, the answer is oxygen. Without that we’re dead in just a few minutes. After that comes physical safety and water and food. Those are the four absolute essentials to our survival. Add shelter, a roof over our heads and there you have it, our basic physical needs are taken care of.
But once those needs are met, well at least to the point where there isn’t anything critical happening, would you like to hazard a guess at what comes next in our list of human needs? What is it that people will tell you they need most once they have air to breathe, their lives and safety aren’t threatened, once they have water to drink and food to eat and a roof over their heads?
The answer is simple, the thing we need most is love. The problem is that this thing we call love seems to be getting so confused these days. We all need it, desperately we need it and yet it can be so difficult in this world to get a handle on exactly what it is and what we need when we talk about love.
Well, what is love? Is it friendship; is that what we’re looking for? Or is it marriage, a life-long commitment, is that it? Well maybe, maybe life-long is a bit long, is it a shorter term relationship that fills this void? Or is it a one night stand, is it sex, is that what we’re talking about? You and I, we both know how much we need to be loved but exactly what is that need look like?
The reason I’m asking you this question is that I’ve met so many people who went looking for love in all the wrong places, as the song goes, and when our needs and expectations for love aren’t met, that is such a painful thing.
A man and a woman go through divorce, the pain that that involves is indescribable. Or girl meets boy and on the second date they sleep together, she thought it was love, he just wanted sex. See, it’s a side show, it’s like we’re looking at love through distorted mirrors. You look at yourself and you’re tall and skinny or short and fat, these funny reflections in these distorted mirrors, it’s kind of how the world presents love.
What is love? If you had to give me your definition of love, what would it be? The dictionary lists these definitions:
- A profoundly tender passionate affection for another person.
- A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection as for a parent or child or friend.
- Sexual passion or desire.
- A person towards who love is felt, a beloved person or sweetheart.
But you see, I don’t think the dictionary’s really getting there, it doesn’t do it for me. See, the definitions are based on feelings and physical things. Is that all that love is? Okay, on the good days, we have warm and fuzzy feelings and when the relationships going well and there’s no adversity and there’s plenty of food and money and shelter, maybe that “feeling based” love is okay on those days but it just doesn’t cut the mustard on the tough days.
What about when we hit a stormy patch in life or we’re in a relationship or a dangerous patch or a lonely patch? If love is just about feelings and emotions and physical things, what happens then when it doesn’t feel good? Where do we go to discover what love is?
You know that the word “love” appears 550 times throughout the Bible. It’s one of the most used words in the Bible and I want to share with you today something of that love; God’s love. Just from the Old Testament, that part written before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, before God’s chosen people, Israel, could see God in the person of Jesus Christ. One of the most common uses of the word“love” is of God’s unfailing love. Hmm, now we’re getting to much better understanding, I think, than that dictionary definition. Psalm 32, verse 10 says this:
Many are the woes of the wicked but the Lords unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts Him.
You get a sense that love isn’t just about feelings; it’s a love that doesn’t go up and down through circumstances. On good days we might feel love, on tough days we don’t feel the same warm fuzzy feeling. And those are the days when love is a decision, when love is a sacrifice even and God’s love is unfailing because He is unfailing.
I had a email recently from a man, he’d been through some really bad things in his life. He’d had an affair and after that ended he came to faith in Jesus Christ and he emailed me. He couldn’t get his mind around the fact that God could possibly love him and he said to me, he accused me, he said “Berni, you make it sound so easy.” That’s because it is. God’s unfailing love is not like the stuff of the world. The stuff the world dishes up under this label of love that’s supposed to be warm, fuzzy, romantic, sexual feelings. Listen again when the psalmist writes about God’s love:
Many are the woes of the wicked but the Lords unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.
What an awesome thing to do, to put our trust in someone. I put my trust in my wife and her love for me is unfailing. You know, some days I’m not the most fantastic husband on this planet, some days I’m grumpy, you know some days I’m tired, some days I fall short of her expectations but her love doesn’t fail on those days and God’s love doesn’t fail either, it’s an unfailing love.
There are times in my life and I know there are times in your life too, when we are difficult to love and yet people stick with us. That’s the great thing about a real marriage, that’s the great thing about a deep friendship and above all, that’s the great thing about a relationship with God. God’s commitment to me, God’s commitment to you, if we put our trust in Him, is His unfailing love. Not a feeling, an unfailing love and when we are the subject of that unfailing love it is something that we can rejoice in. Psalm 36, verse 7:
How priceless is your unfailing love. Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Isn’t that fantastic? God’s unfailing love is absolutely priceless. To that man who sent me that email saying, “God couldn’t love me”, to anyone else who’s ever had that same thought, I want to say this, “God’s love never fails, ever, because the central characteristic of God’s love is that it’s unfailing no matter what we do, what we don’t do. No matter how much we fail Him, He will never fail us.”
Love, as a commitment, God’s commitment does not reject us. A commitment to draw us close. Every other person on this earth will fall short one day, God’s love never falls short. Every other person on this earth will fail one day, God’s love will never fail because God is love. In this world, that’s something that each one of us needs to know.