Tillie has always wanted to have a child. After waiting for a few years she is finally pregnant. In many ways, it is a perfect pregnancy with no physical complications. But while the baby is in the womb, Tillie does not enjoy the feeling of him kicking her and never strokes her bump with loving thoughts. She is becoming detached from the life growing inside her and goes about as normal.
When the time for birth is great. It is a relaxed and calm affair. In fact she even makes cakes in between contractions! And then Fletcher, her son is born. The midwife puts him onto her chest. But Tillie feels no emotion towards him at all. As she is lying there on her bed. She is not think what mums do. There is no love or warmth. She is over come with pity for herself.
As days pass Tillie hates that Fletcher needs her so much. I her words, “ I hated losing my independence and that I no longer felt like me. I started to feel a huge amount of resentment towards him”. And yet at the same time she is filled with guilt. She knows that mothers are meant to love their children, and yet she doesn't.
Stories like Tillie’s, about the depression some mothers face after childbirth, reminds us that there is something in all of us that knows we are meant to love others, especially members of our own family. When there is no love between family members, it pains those involved because we know something has gone terribly wrong!
The Bible says all all followers of Jesus are now a new family of God. The Apostle John writing to new followers of Jesus reminded them that they were now children of God: "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are" (1 John 3:1). And like all our human families, the new spiritual family of God is meant to love one another. At the same time we know that all of us struggle with love.
Perhaps, this is why John spends a huge amount of time in his first letter explaining what love is, why we should love and how we should love. One of the famous passages from the letter is is 1 John 4:7-8: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love". John is saying that God is the source from which all rivers of love flow. We cannot know love without God.
The problem is that different words mean different things to people. If I said “Donald Trump” someone may think strong leadership and patriotism. Another person may think of bigortry and incompetence. In the same way, when we hear the word “love”, to some love is the affection you see between your parents or what you get from your girlfriend.
When the Bible talks about love, it does not starts with us. It starts with God. John says God is love. It does not say love is God because there is more to God than love (e.g. holiness justice, wrath). It also doesn’t say God is loving, even though that is true. It simply says God is love. God is source and ultimate measure of true love! In short, if you want to know love, just look at God. God is love to the bone! All God knows is how to love! Love is not a decision he has to make. God loves because He is love to the very core of His being!
How do we know all of this? Because the God of the Bible has always existed as a relationship of love between three persons in one being. God exists as God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. All three persons are each fully God and yet perfectly One. And here is the key: love is the glue that binds the three persons of the Trinity in perfect union. The true God is a relationship bound by love! This love in the inner life of God is self-giving, without strings attached or pre-conditions.
We see the love in the Trinity, when Jesus says, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand” (John 3:35). We also see at His baptism when the Spirit of God lovingly descends on Jesus and God the Father declares, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The love that the Trinity shares is love that is unreserved, unconditional, eternal and takes great delight and pleasure in the other person.
To live with God is to be with a person whose very being oozes out love for you that never ends. He is always loving and enjoys to love you! There is nowhere else where you can find such love except in God because God is the source of this love. This changes everything because if amazing love comes from God, it means that for us to truly love another as a new spiritual family, we need the direct intervention of God. He is the origin of love and it is to Him we must turn to find true love!
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2017