Tuesday, May 16, 2017

For the love of God

To an outside observer, God's providence is often unaccountable. For instance, why does God keep some Christians here after they live too long for their own good even though he takes others when they had so much to offer, so much unrealized promise?

I don't pretend to have the official answer. But I think it illustrates a comforting principle if we think about it and take it to heart: God doesn't love us because he needs us.

God isn't dependent on any particular individual to achieve his aims. There are others who could do the same job. Or God could do it himself.

There's a certain insecurity which comes with the knowledge that people love you because they need you. I had an elderly relative who used to be very considerate, conscientious, and helpful. She tried to be helpful to as many people as she could over the course of a long lifetime. But age finally caught with her. She become bedridden. Somewhat senile.

I used to lean over and hug her in bed so she wouldn't feel so isolated and alone, lonely, or abandoned. I don't know for sure what she felt.

Sometimes, when she sat lengthwise on a park bench, I sit right behind her and briefly cradle her in my arms to make her feel loved and cherished at a time of life when it's easy to feel unloved and unwanted.

Will people still love you when you've outlived your usefulness? When you used to help others, but you become helpless, and depend on others to do everything for you, will you be an object of affection or resentment?

Yesterday I was standing in line at the DMV. It was a long line when I got there. There was an elderly woman right ahead of me. About 80, give or take. Elegant, but I could see the strain in her face. I offered to let her sit down, then I'd motion her to resume her place ahead of me as I advanced to the front of the line. She was grateful for the offer and took me up on the offer (one of my fleeting finer moments).

What happens to you if people only love you for what you could do for them, when you can no longer help out? This is why many men find unemployment so devastating. This is why many elderly women are apprehensive about their situation. They're just one broken hip away from disaster.

But God doesn't love us because he needs us. Rather, God loves us because we need him.

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