Prone to Ponder

love like blackred roses

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Psalm 63:3

The love of God never fails.
I’ve been thinking about this awe-inducing love, the love of our Creator and Savior; the love that knows no end. The love that has been before the beginning of time. The love that we cannot know apart from our God in Heaven. It is majestic, mighty, infinite, faultless, glorious and magnificent. Our word “love” can be attached to many things, but God’s love cannot be compared to anything else.
What kind of earthly love do we (often) settle for? A love that expects things in return, a love that is driven by fear, a love that knows a beginning and an end and changes with the seasons. A sweet, sappy, superficial, soft love. A love that turns away from the difficult, a love that is convenient, a love that does not delight in the truth, a love that falls to pieces when the right feelings have disappeared.

“The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go God’s love for us does not.”
-C.S. Lewis

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7

One of my favorite poems by E.E. Cummings makes me think of the love of God. He writes about the heaven that he thinks his mother deserves.

if there are any heavens my mother will (all by herself) have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses

Not lilies-of-the-valley or pansies but blackred roses.
Not fragile and weak but rich and full of power and passion.
This is how I think of the love of God – bursting from His heart; it burns and it’s alive and reaching and it cannot be contained.

John tells us in 1 John that God is love. He is IN love and He loves us as His children, and everything is fulfilled when we love God with all that we have.

But how do we interpret that God is love? Do we believe that God allows all things or tolerates sin and darkness or keeps a safe distance?
The love of God is not this passive, timid, frail, delicate love. His is not a pansy love, His is a love like a blackred rose – deep, eternal, sacrificial, unconditional, unfailing. A love that sent His own Son to die for us to be raised with him.

A God and a love that acceptably warrants reverence and awe (Heb 12:28).

He is a God who is jealous for us. He is a God who desires us for Himself. He is a God who disciplines as a Father disciplines his children. He is a God who makes everlasting promises that He does not break.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10

When perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When unconditional, steadfast, selfless, eternal, brilliant LOVE comes,
our conditional, inconsistent, selfish, temporary, lowercase love disappears.

Paul writes to the Corinthians that love is patient, kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Our love can be flighty, conditional, and demanding.
God’s love is agape, His love is forever. The love of a King.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:7-8

And in the midst of thinking about the majesty of the LOVE of God, I stumbled upon, not by happenstance, this incredible story behind the well-known song How He Loves, written by John Mark Mcmillan.

He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane
I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
He loves us, oh how he loves us.

The story behind this song is heartbreaking. It’s raw. It is everything that I have been thinking about, it is painfully honest, coming to God broken and bruised and bleeding, and discovering that His love is always there, endless, covering all things and in everything, even the worst pain and suffering.

John Mark Mcmillan wrote How He Loves after one of his best friends Stephen died in a car crash. The song was born out of struggling to cope with loss and feelings of anger and confusion. He knew he had to have a conversation with God.

He explains:

“Love can be such a non-word sometimes. It loses its meaning, its potency, you know like, I really love a cheeseburger, I really love a sunny day and I really love my family. None of those loves are remotely the same…
It’s really difficult to write a song about love or even use the word ‘love’ in a song, because, you know, what does it really mean?
The love I’m singing about in that song is not a pretty, clean… it’s not a Hollywood hot-pink love, it’s the kind of love that’s willing to love things that are messy, and willing to love even the difficult things, even the gross things. In my anger, in my resentment, in my frustration, He could still love me through that.”

“Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died,
And You met me between my breaking.
I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony.
Cause people…they want to tell me You’re cruel,
But if Stephen could sing, he’d say it’s not true, cause You’re good.

God, You’re good.
I’ll never think of this song the same way again.
(Can we even fully comprehend), How He loves us?

3 thoughts on “love like blackred roses

  1. Thanks for this and the story about this song writer. Interesting….
    Reminds me of this verse too:

    “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
    Matthew 7:11

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