A few years ago, I thought I heard a preacher say, “God’s love is all you need” to which I felt exasperation and a slight bit of anger. I stewed through the sermon, went home, grabbed my pen and sat down to write a long piece on how that’s simply NOT true.
God’s love is NOT all we need.
I was in my pit of despair at the time and lots of things in life were blurry, but I do think maybe I touched on a truth that is often overlooked and glossed over by platitudes about God being all we need and that it doesn’t matter if we’re all alone as long as we have God.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a very great thing to be loved by God. And in the end, I believe a person isn’t fully living until he or she knows God’s love personally, but I think God has built us to need one another.
A child needs a parent’s love.
A wife needs her husband’s care.
We all need friends and people we can trust.
There is an importance to being in community.
Those are very real needs, and when they aren’t met, hearts may break.
I propose that God’s love shouldn’t be our substitute for these.
I think we often expect God’s love to be a “fix” for our hurt and loss, but maybe that’s not how it works. Maybe the love of God sometimes takes a different route. His command is for us to love one another. Sure, he could fill the void left by others’ poor behavior, and I imagine at times he does, but he also leaves the door open for us to get it right.
We do a disservice to those feeling unloved when we only point them toward God, but don’t put our arms around them and draw them near. It’s like walking by the hungry and chirping over our shoulder that God will take care of them. Or hurrying by the sick with a promise to send up a prayer or two, but not offering to get them to a doctor.
Not feeling loved hurts. It’s lonely. And it’s not something we can easily remedy for ourselves. I feel certain God is aware of those hurting hearts and plans to bring healing and help.
It’s just that sometimes the hands and feet to his plans are too busy in their own little worlds to listen.
May that not be us.
I never finished my tirade about that sermon because when I reread my notes, I realized the pastor actually said, “God fills a need in our hearts that no one else can fill.” I do believe that. And I do believe that we desperately need God, But I also believe that once we know that kind of love, we should never, ever withhold it from someone else.
Who do you need to love this Valentine’s Day?
“Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth…” I John 3:18