You’ve probably heard the saying, “Love makes the world go ‘round.” But if that’s true, why is it so hard to find love? You may long to be loved, but you probably also struggle with wondering whether or not you are worth loving. You desire deep friendships but also struggle to love others who are different from you. Why is it so hard to love? Why is it so hard to be loved? Is the love we’re yearning for real, or is it merely a romantic notion that can only be found in movies or novels?
God’s Story of Love
I don’t know who originated that saying, but he was right. Love does make the world go ‘round. Perhaps the author who penned those words was simply persuaded by love’s universal nature, but maybe he was thinking about God. When we step back and consider this saying in light of God’s story, we will be convinced that it is absolutely true.
Before creation, perfect love existed and was experienced. How do we know this to be true? Because God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). God existed eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even before creating the universe (Genesis 1). When Jesus was with his disciples, he prayed to his heavenly Father, saying, “you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24 NIV). Imagine the Holy Trinity, enjoying perfect love that flowed equally, infinitely, and inseparably between the persons. Consider the joy, peace, pleasure, and affection that the members experienced within their one being. Such love was and is glorious, and it has overflowed as the God of love has written a beautiful four-part love story:
At creation, we see how God created us for love.
The Trinity—Father, Son, and Spirit—wanted others to experience the love that they had eternally enjoyed. So God was compelled in love to create the heavens and the earth. What’s remarkable about the beginning of God’s story, as revealed in the Bible, is that God created every person to experience the same love the Father, Son, and Spirit have eternally enjoyed. God not only created every woman, man, girl, and boy to know and experience his love, but he also created us to love him with our entire being. He made us for an intimate relationship with him. We see this love relationship in the first great love command: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). God also created us to love others so they might know and experience his love. Jesus shows us this with the second love command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
The fall shows us how evil keeps us from love.
Something terrible happened just three chapters into God’s story. When tempted by the devil, the first man and woman ate the forbidden fruit, and in doing so they chose to know evil (Genesis 3). Evil overcame the first man and woman as soon as they disobeyed God. Our first parents’ evil desires and deeds broke their intimate relationship with Love himself. Since their fall, every subsequent generation has been born sinful. The sin and evil you have experienced—in your soul and in your story—have distorted God’s design for love. They keep you from knowing and experiencing God’s love, and they misdirect our love so that we love ourselves first and foremost instead of loving God and others.
The corruption due to evil and sin makes love hard to find. It’s the reason we wrestle with feeling unloved and unlovable; this is evil seeking to distract us from perfect Love. The enemy seeks to discourage our attempts to know and experience God’s unfailing love. The devil attempts to divide us from God’s love and from God’s people, who are conduits of his love. Our relational struggles with friends, family, and coworkers exist because evil entangles each of us. Often our self-centeredness can make our relationships hard and hurtful as well.
Redemption shows us how Jesus restores us with love.
God knew we were helpless and lost in the darkness of sin. He understood that apart from his love, we would live a hopeless and powerless life. He knows that we are no match for evil. When we try to live in our own strength, sin always overpowers and enslaves us. God knew the only way to break the power of evil that keeps us from love was to free us through his love.
In the definitive moment of God’s story, Love came down from heaven to earth to rescue you from your incurable condition. Love found you, though you didn’t look for him. Love died for you when you were his enemy (1 John 4:9–10; Romans 5:10). God the Father entered into an eternal covenant of love, placed you in union with his beloved Son, and poured out his love into your heart through the Holy Spirit. There is nothing you can do to mess up God’s love-driven salvation. God did all of this so that you might live in accordance with his original design, enjoying his love and sharing it with others.
God Invites You to Find Love in His Story
Love does make the world go ‘round, because God, who is love, created and sustains the world. This truth helps us see that love is real. The longing for love is universal because all people were created by the God of the universe. Our deep-seated yearning to love and be loved is not unrealistic; it’s normal, a part of being human. And our desire for love ultimately reflects the God of love, who made us in his image.
Take courage. God knows all the troubles you experience in this world, and he knows all of the ways you struggle with love. He even knows how you can doubt his love, how you can drift from him in your weariness and weakness. And yet Jesus invites you to abide in his love by following him in faith and obedience. Jesus invites you to live in light his story where his love serves as frame of reference—a better frame of reference than the difficult relationships or circumstances that press you down or make God seem distant and disinterested.
God’s story is not a fairy tale. Nor is living in God’s story a call to deny your present, persistent, and painful reality. But Jesus’s invitation is a call to experience his love in the midst of the world’s brokenness. Here is the good news: Love wants you to experience his joy and peace amid your struggles and heartache. Love knows you can do nothing apart from him, and yet he faithfully pursues you all the days of your life. Nothing can separate you from Love, so rest in him. The Love who found you will keep you, just as he keeps the world spinning ‘round.
RESTORE: CHANGING HOW WE LIVE AND LOVE, STUDY GUIDE WITH LEADER’S NOTES
In Restore: Changing How We Live and Love, pastor and author Robert K. Cheong shows us that because we have been united to Christ, we can draw near to God, enjoy his love, and live with new patterns and life rhythms.