Sometimes we forget how incredible and reassuring the Lord's steadfast love really is because we have grown so accustomed to the phrase "steadfast love" in Christianity. But have you really taken time to think and grasp the depth and gravity of the Lord's steadfast love and compared it against the much more feeble, easily broken human love we encounter daily? The topic of the Lord's steadfast love is spoken of 196 times in the Old Testament and 127 times in the Psalms, a book where I have been dwelling for weeks.
I recently had my heart deeply wounded and broken by someone I loved very much. I was fully convinced that the love between us would be unbreakable and would only deepen and grow, so when our love was broken, I was shocked, hurt, and confused as to how someone I loved so deeply could break my heart so painfully. I had tried so hard to salvage our relationship and was willing to sacrifice what was necessary for it to be saved and repaired. Love is not meant to break, but to instead be strengthened, right? Alas, this is the tragedy of humanity. For as long as we dwell on this earth until we are fully restored in Heaven by Christ, we are stained by sin and this sin taints our ability to love beyond certain challenges and situations. Our love towards others is not always unconditional, though it ought to be if we are modeling our lives after Jesus and His actions and commands. When we are wounded by those we love, we can often shift into a mindset of bitterness, anger, and vow to never forgive them for the pain they caused in our hearts by shattering us. We struggle so much to achieve the Biblical definition of love in our relationships as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13, and need the Lord's constant help to guide us in this right way day by day. Yet, no matter how hard we seek His guidance and strive to fulfill the Biblical outline of love, we still fail to love as we ought to, and forgiveness is vital to even begin to mend the broken love that either we or another person broke between each other.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV)
We all crave love from another human so deeply as it is ingrained in us to have fellowship with others and become one with a spouse. We lose our minds if we feel that love is decreasing between ourself and another human and scramble to do whatever it takes to reconcile our hearts back to another, because the loss of love and separation from a loved one can utterly wreck our heart, but then we risk maintaining and salvaging this love as becoming idolatry if it becomes consuming. The heart can be healed, but it does take a very long time to recovery from the terrible pain of broken bonds and our hearts develop scars that may remain for a lifetime, so we put the other person and on a pedestal to prevent this devastation from also occurring. Unlike human love, God's love towards us and bond with us cannot be severed. His love is steadfast. The dictionary defines the word "steadfast" as meaning firmly fixed in place, immovable, and not subject to change. The fact that Jesus possesses this type of love for eternity ought to fill our hearts with immense hope as we crave love and acceptance so deeply in life, and the Lord so beautifully and kindly fill this hole in our hearts.
"Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love." ~ Jonah 2:8 (ESV)
Christ always fulfills the outline of love in 1 Corinthians 13. He knows our heart better than anyone we will ever encounter, and even better than we know our own hearts. He fashioned and designed our every fiber, and loves us with His every fiber. He granted us hope and peace in knowing that he will love us steadfastly, unconditionally, and always full of mercy and grace and forgiveness to blot out any sin that we think may break our love, as it can break human love. Broken human love carves a canyon between people, and this separation from someone we once loved is one of the worst pains we can encounter. Sadly, this occurs far too often as love can break due to trials, loss of physical attraction, loss of achievement or status, failure of health, immorality, constant stress, lack of compatibility, collapse of family dynamics, inability to understand someone, physical location, annoying traits, rebellion, and many more factors. Lovers can be divided, parents and children distanced, and friendships dropped. We think that we may have found unbreakable love in parents, children, siblings, significant others, spouses, or friends, only for these loves to be broken and leave our hearts and lives in pieces. In contrast, Christ promises that separation from His love is impossible, and this ought to soothe our souls with such gratitude and relief that we will always be loved and valued by our Lord, the One who created us and He will always adore and accept us and eagerly welcome reciprocal love shown towards Him. He will never be too busy for us, never desire distance, never prioritize work or activities over us, and though He loves us all differently, He will never love another more than each of us. He abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness towards us as expressed in Psalm 86:15!
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~Romans 8:35-39 (ESV)
The next time you have your heart broken by the seemingly unbreakable bonds of human love, remember the unbreakable, loyal, committed, unconditional, heart-mending love of our Lord, and place your hope in His promise to never remove His love towards each of us every day no matter our circumstances or behaviors towards Him. What gracious God we serve and get the immense privilege to serve!
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." ~ Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
Are you loving others based on how Christ models love to us through His actions and words in Scripture? If not, strive to repair broken relationships and aim to love those in your life fully, with commitment, unconditionally, and most of all point others to find hope in God's steadfast love that trumps all other loves we may have. In closing, I invite you to listen to one of my favorite songs by Ellie Holcomb called "You Love Me Best", where she elaborates on how God will always love each of us best out of all the human loves we will ever encounter. Man's love fails, but God's love never fails.