Eve has always wanted to get married but does not feel very comfortable with the idea of long-term commitment. Now in her early 40’s, she would describe herself as pleasing, accommodating and bubbly. And she has an amazing body that she works hard to fine-tune.
In social situations, Eve shines. It makes her job as an events coordinator all the more enthralling. She craves the thrill of success. If it takes a perfectly fitting shirt or some batting of the eye lashes — in the end it gets the job done. God helps those who help themselves, right?
Eve recently began attending a church in town. The music is so unique compared to the boring hymns she grew up with! She felt exposed, however, when the pastor’s wife invited her to attend a women’s event. You see, Eve just doesn’t get along with women that well, and naturally shies away from female friendships. In this case however, given that it was church, she agreed to attend ONE event. After all, she’s always looking for opportunities to coordinate an event and land some new clients, so she decided to go ahead with it.
Fast forward a few months. The women’s event was so enjoyable that Eve started attending a Bible study. Surprisingly, she finds herself learning to like some of the women. One woman invited her for coffee and started asking more personal questions. This left Eve feeling anxious and uncomfortable. No one had ever probed like this. Yet it also felt so caring and loving. Weird.
Eve is starting to feel nervous that she might not know how to connect. She wonders if there is more to life than the fancy events, the fine-tuned body, the bubbly interactions. She thinks she wants something more but has no idea for what that would look like.
Eve is looking for God’s love, and she does not know it. She is feeling what my compatriot, Blaise Pascal described in the 1650’s in his Pensées as “this infinite abyss [that] can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.” You may have heard this referenced to as a “God-shaped hole” in every human heart. Blaise Pascal never said it was a merely a hole or a vacuum. It’s an infinite abyss.
Only God can fill the abyss of our heart. And that is, because only God is pure love. We often settle for substitutes, even good ones. And yet, nothing short of God’s infinite love will truly satisfy. Even the “perfect” family, the dream job, the best ministry—they may satisfy for a season, but the “infinite abyss” of our heart intuitively discovers that they do not fill. Only the love of our infinite God can fill the infinite abyss of our heart.
So, what does God’s love look like, and how do we experience it so that it fills our heart? I would venture to say, in the same way that we experience anyone else’s love! God has given us human interactions so that we would learn from them how to spot true love, and then infinitely extrapolate the experience to embrace God’s love. In other words, how do you know anyone loves you? I think it is the sum of what they say and what they do. And so it is with God. Ponder what Scripture tells you about what God says about you, what He promises you, and what He has done for you both in the past and in the present. For example, Zephaniah 3:17 describes you as the recipient of the overflow of the love of God: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke y but will rejoice over you with singing.”
To need and to want; to love and be loved. This is the experience God invites us to enjoy in Him. Love is an experience of the heart AND mind. It is a decision of the will that transforms your heart and turns living into loving.
So, how do we do this? First, be inspired by others who DO delight in Him. Who do you know, who loves the Lord with all of their heart and mind and strength and soul? Seek them out, and then surround yourself with them; learn from them. And second, YOU be inspiring to others who seek to delight in Him! Never place yourself intentionally on display, but intentionally invite Him to use you as His earthen vessel in a jar of clay. In other words, love God, and love others like yourself.
What does it look like? I would sum it up in one word: Crave. Crave Him. The more you spend time with others who crave Him, the more you will crave Him. It will happen through prayer and study of His Word. It will happen through a deeper living-out of the set-apartness of knowing you are His, and He is yours. It will happen as you practically set out to love others in His Name. And it will not happen in your own strength—that’s the secret. God displays His supernatural glory through human impossibilities.
Crave God. He will satisfy. Love God. He will teach you to love Him through the Spirit. Love others. He will act through you.
Join us this week on the Gospel Spice Podcast to find out how Eve is discovering the mysterious miracle of intimacy with God.