God and Love
Benito Z. Swu
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he theists believe there is God and the antitheists say there is no God. But there is atleast one thing that both the theists and the antitheists agree on, and that is that no matter what the starting point, we must all attempt to answer the question of life’s meaning. For a philosophy that defines life apart from God, there are a good number of options, each necessarily forfeiting the right to judge anyone else’s choice. For a philosophy that espouses God, life is directed by the concepts and precepts that are revealed by God’s character and purpose.One of the most common refrains we hear from those who have reached the pinnacle of success is that of the emptiness that still stalks their lives, all their successes notwithstanding. That sort of confession is atleast one reason the question of meaning is so central in life’s pursuit. Although so many do not like to admit it, what brings purpose in life for many is a higher standard of living, even if it means being willing to die for it. Yet, judging by the remarks of some who have attained those higher standards, there is frequently an admission of disappointment. Boris Becker, after his second Wimbledon victory, surprised the world by admitting his great struggle with suicide. A career achiever had once said that the one thing he knows now at this high point of his career that he wished he had known as a small boy is this: “When you get to the top, there’s nothing there.” This, I think, is one of the most difficult of life’s reality to accept. Those who have not yet experienced the success they covet find it impossible to believe that those who have attained it find it wanting in terms of giving meaning to life. The driving force behind today’s thriving marketing industry and technological advancement is to create new hungers to help people forget old ones. And if the wheel of fortune does not deliver, the attention is turned towards the deception and enamorment becoming the object of artistic adulation which I believe will never be the case if one trusts and have faith in the living God.
When one attempts to live without God, the answers to morality, hope and meaning sends one back into his or her own world to fashion an individualized answer. But anyway can man live without God? Yes, ofcourse one can, in a physical sense. Can man live without God in a reasonable way? No, because such a person is compelled to deny a moral law, to abandon hope, to forfeit meaning, and to risk no recovery if proved wrong. Outside of Christ there is no law, no hope and no meaning. Self and self alone is the determiner and definer of these essentials of life; self and self alone crafts meaning for one’s own life; self and self alone risks everything one have on the basis of a hope one envisage. Outside of God, there is no love.
Talking of love, here is the story as told by Dr. Stanley Jones, a famed and noted missionary to India about a man, a devout Hindu government official, to whom he was trying to explain the concept of the cross. The man kept reiterating to Dr. Jones that he could not possibly make sense of the Cross and the love of God. Their conversation on this subject were circular and seemingly unsolvable to his satisfaction. One day, through a series of circumstances, the man involved himself in an extramarital affair that tormented his conscience. He could live with himself no longer, and finally, looking into the eyes of his devoted wife, he told her the heart rendering story of his betrayal. The hours and days of anguish and pain became weeks of heaviness in her heart. Yet, as she weathered the early shock she confessed to him not only her deep sense of hurt but also the promise of her undying commitment and love.
Suddenly, almost like a flash of lightning illuminating the night sky and the landscape below, he found himself muttering, “Now I know what it means to see love crucified by sin.” He kneeled in worship and embraced his wife anew with the solemnity of life’s binding commitment. That overwhelming sense of God’s great love is why the hymn writer wrote:
“O Love that will not let me go-I rest my weary soul in Thee, I give Thee back the life I owe
That in life’s ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.”
Love has its demands. Love requires sacrifice. But in our high-paced lives, our priorities get inverted and we squander the sacred to protect the profane. It is the love of Christ that challenges our priorities and addresses the need of the human heart to love and to be loved. He becomes the consummate expression of love, and in knowing Him we find that love which brings meaning.