Monday, February 14, 2011

God's love

For Valentine's Day I wanted to take a break from the Psalms and share this.   When I was a new Christian I struggled to understand God.  I was worried about everything I did, is this a sin?  Is this good?  To add to my confusion, my major in college, was in Fine Art which included required courses in Art History.  We started with Gothic painting in Italy which included all the old frescoes, sculptures and paintings from the huge cathedrals.  My school was in Seattle, so we watched slide after slide of pictures depicting Jesus, Mary, the disciples...  The story of the Bible, in pictures for those who couldn't read.  

I sat seeing the faces of Jesus- some were sad, some staring into space, many of His death.  I would try and pray at night and see one of the images in my mind.  Then I'd stop myself, "Wait that's not who I'm praying to."  

It was very confusing and as much as I loved studying the paintings, I was relieved to have the images stop in my head!  Now I can look at artwork and appreciate it much more, because there's no test at the end.  

I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 one night.  The "Love" chapter.  I kept reading it and realized it seemed impossible.  When I pray for patience, something happens to show me I don't have any!  I stumbled through the chapter wondering how a person could be like this.  When it dawned on me that 1 John says,  "God is love."  I began to see God in a new way.  God isn't waiting for us to mess up.  He's rejoicing when I get things right- He's cheering me on!  It's a beautiful description of God.  When I quit worrying about a test at the end, this doesn't seem quite so impossible.  I can simply love Him back.

1 Corinthians 13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 John 4:8-9
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

Happy Valentine's Day!  


  1. That's strange, I didn't see this yesterday.:) What an apt post for Valentine's day Karen. I really enjoyed learning a bit more about you, I am an art lover as well although I never studied it. I would sure love to though.:)

    I am really encouraged by what you wrote about God cheering us on. Such a wonderful thought! He loves us, He doesn't want us to mess up just as we don't want our beloved children (or whoever) to mess up. We desperately want their best...

    Happy Valentine's day to you too! I know I'm a day late but I hope it will do.:)

  2. Thanks Colleen, I'm so glad it encouraged you too. No worries, I didn't post until last night so you aren't late at all. Art History is very interesting especially if you get to learn the real side of old masters. God bless.