Do you recognize this opening line from a well-known movie? “I am no one special, just a common man with a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But, in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who has ever lived. I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul. And for me that has always been enough.” These are the opening lines of James Garner playing Old Noah Calhoun in the 2004 movie based on The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks.
Noah makes this statement quite calmly, yet there is something epic about this introduction he gives of himself. It tags our emotions and we want to hear more of this love story. We want to know this person and the details of his glorious success in soul satisfaction.
Welcome to the official relaunching of my blog. Initially this blog was about my stories. It was a way to promote my book, “God Writes in Blue” (see the Book tab above). My blog now is about God’s stories!
In a sense God has already written His own blog. It’s called the Bible! Throughout His story written purposefully for us, He states again and again His one desire: that we will know He is the Lord. I hope and pray that my blog will point you to read God’s Blog and, in that, fulfill His desire.
The Bible portrays the greatest love story ever told. Throughout its pages we are given pictures, parables, songs and stories illustrating God’s passionate love for us! The Passion Translation of the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 8:38-39 express so completely the height and depth of God’s love. Be encouraged with these words:
“So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above us or beneath us –no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!”
Jesus took the love described above and wrapped the sum of it in one sentence:
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NIV
Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Reconciliation to the Father would require a sinless atonement with the shedding of blood ending in death. Jesus fit the qualification. The Father loved us so completely that He sent His own Son into the world to pay our debt of sin.
Because sin is brutal the payment for sin had to be equally brutal. Let us never forget that pain was a part of the cost of forgiveness that was included at the cross. How amazing to know that when we need forgiveness we can ask for it and it will be ours.
Jesus being both 100% man and 100% God succeeded in love more gloriously than any human who has ever lived. He went to the cross confident that His love would keep Him there to the end so that the price of sin would be paid once, for all.
The Father’s requirement of divine justice was met that day. Jesus’ love had satisfied the debt, and the Father accepted the sacrifice of His only Son’s blood as payment in full.
Three days after Jesus’ crucifixion there were many witnesses of His resurrection. Then, after His ascension back up to heaven, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Helper. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to live for Jesus and be a witness to others of His amazing love.
When our romantic love for another is young, we will do most anything to be together. Strong emotions overwhelm us. We have eyes only for one another. We are in a bubble of love! Our heart takes flight. Our soul feels freedom. We dream of living life together in this bliss. Commitment seems easy and in the presence of God and witnesses we make a vow: for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health…till death do we part.” We feel safe. We have run into the arms of our love, there to stay forever. We will never let go.
As life and love move forward, we come to realize life in love has different seasons. As our wedding day vows predicted, we experience both good and bad days. We have days when our salaries are enough and then there are days we financially struggle. We have days of health, but there can also be serious times of sickness. In the times of testing we can draw hope and encouragement out of our love relationship. In times of failure, in our hurt and pain, we can choose forgiveness and enjoy reconciliation having benefited first hand from it ourselves through Jesus. To give forgiveness may cost us pain, as it did Jesus, but the reward is peace of heart and freedom from hate’s destruction, for us and perhaps affecting generations to come.
Peter understood the power of love’s forgiveness and would come to understand its pain. He had denied Jesus three times just before His crucifixion. Yet, after Jesus’ resurrection He purposefully went to Peter and asked him three times, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-17) Peter assured Jesus each time that He knew he loved Him. In forgiveness and reconciliation Jesus invited him to “Follow Me.” Peter’s love would commit to follow Jesus all the way to his own painful death hanging on a cross upside down.
In the movie The Notebook, Old Allie has dementia and Noah is reading back to her their written love story in hope that she will remember that he is her beloved husband. At the end of the movie it climaxes with Allie not only remembering Noah, but remembering she had chosen Noah over another love. They relish in that moment of knowing one another. They hug and kiss, but both know the reality: Allie’s dementia will bring the fog back in over her mind and she will again forget who Noah is. Though their love was not safe, Noah’s heart was committed to remain with her.
Are we willing to choose God over all other loves? God wants to relish in the truth that we know who He is. He wants so badly for us to know that He is the Lord. He wants you to know that He is your Lord.
Have you spoken your vows to love Him in good times and bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health? In my book, God Writes in Blue, “Story 20: Crises,” I share of a time when I was tested and confronted with the question of would I follow Jesus when things did not appear “safe.” I write:
“It had been a wonderful whirlwind summer. We would just get home from one (biker) rally or campout, and we were off on another. We loved it and would have had it no other way. I was truly enjoying what God had called us to, and I was not faking one bit my love for the people He had called us to share His love with.
How could we know we were taking our last steps of what had become our normal? We were about to step into another new season filled with GodThings, but it would be characterized by challenges we had never yet known. It would validate that an all-out commitment to God does not mean life itself is “safe.” And we would come to understand there can be a mysterious and profoundly different meaning to living happily ever after.”
Further on in “Story 25: The Promise Comes to You,” I write:
When Mike’s next liver biopsy showed another downgrade, I prayed for the heaviness to leave and pushed back fear. I had always felt safe in God’s promise, but, now, somehow things just didn’t feel quite so safe anymore.
I felt God knew we had given Him a pledge of our love, and were committed to being disciples, planning to serve Him together for our entire lives. But now He was taking it a step further. It was as if I could see the test question printed out and it was not a multiple-choice question. It was a simple “true” or “false, “yes” or “no:”
“Do you realize that I want you to entrust not only your life in service to Me, but literally your breath, as well?”
I have now been a widow for almost 12 years. Life is not always “safe”, but God’s love is secured for us throughout eternity. I loved my late husband, Mike, with all my heart and soul. His love filled up a place in me that even now, long after the disabling aspects of grief have faded, remains 100%.
However, though Mike’s love was passionate and powerful, it was not perfect. Mike’s love was flawed. My love for him was flawed. BUT, Mike and I had both received perfect love from Jesus Christ of Nazareth. When Jesus laid His love, that satisfied our sin debt, on top of our love for each other, we could accept our flaws. We were both spiritually satisfied and so we could be happily satisfied with one another. Then we learned, by His example, to also lay our life down and lay our love on top of others. We could love those who did not know the Lord.
God’s love calls us to join in with His Cause that all will know that He is the Lord. He invites us in the midst of our life journey, whether in peace or persecution, to walk Calvary’s narrow road with Him experiencing the width and depth of His love. There will be an intimacy born out of a pure relationship that ranks far above even the human experience Old Noah spoke of. In those holy moments of pure worship we will come to know that He is the Lord and we will understand how fully God is committed to us. We will proclaim that God has succeeded gloriously in love! And so have we! We will irrevocably say, “I’ve loved Another with all my heart and soul. And for me that has always been enough.”