Captivated

Many of us forego the promise of hope in order to avoid the pain that disappointment or loss often brings. So where do we find the courage to anticipate the future God has promised? The answer is when we realize the worth of that which we gain far exceeds the value which we can lose, that we can face it with joy and find the courage to keep seeking; even in those places where hope doesn’t seem to exist.

The whole story of the Bible is a love story between God and his people. He yearns for us. Not only does God long for us, but he longs to be loved by us. We see him as strong and powerful, but not as needing us, vulnerable to us, yearning to be desired.

Can there be any doubt that God wants to be sought after? The first and greatest of all commands is to love him (Mark 12: 29–30; Matt. 22: 36–38). He wants us to love him. To seek him with all our hearts.

If we love God most, we will love others best. Those who have encountered the living Christ understand what I mean. They know the depth of love and breadth of grace that flows out from them toward others when they themselves are filled with love for God and all he is for them and means to them in Jesus. And they know the comparatively shallow and narrow love they feel toward others when their affection for God is ebbing. There’s a reason why Jesus said the second greatest commandment is like the first: if we love God with all our heart, we will love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37–39). It functions like faith and works; if we truly have the first, the second naturally follows.

Jesus is helping us see that we could only love others rightly if we love Him first, otherwise we will love ourselves supremely. When we become our supreme love instead of God, love becomes distorted and diseased. Love ends up devolving into whatever we wish for it to mean.

A woman longs to be sought after, too, with the whole heart of her pursuer. God longs to be desired just as a woman longs to be desired. This is not some weakness or insecurity on the part of a woman, that deep yearning to be desired. God feels the same way.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31: 3). This whole world was made for romance—the rivers and the mountains, the meadows and beaches. Flowers, music, a kiss. But we have a way of forgetting all that, losing ourselves in work and worry.

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