"Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
~ Isaiah 54:10
In our relationship with God, these are words that we will never encounter from God. "I will love you, if..."
The unconditional love of God does not contain the word, "if."
I think that for any of us living today, where we have encountered so many "conditional if's" that thinking about God's love in this manner becomes nearly impossible.
By the time I was ten years old I had seen many of my friends' parents divorce, including my own. I had already learned that not everyone was designed to be in relationship, never the less, love one another unconditionally.
I remember my first fight in school. I was in fifth grade and I had never wanted to punch someone as much as I did this person I had been angered by. As we drew our fists and made those initial swings, we looked more like the blades of a fan that had lost their balance and were pulling the mechanism in different directions. Those first few blows were a shock at first, but then they began to hurt.
We continued until we were both exhausted.
And then something happened. We stopped. And in the next moment we started to cry. It wasn't that we were really angry with each other, as much as we were upset with things that were happening in our lives and at home. We were hurt, and so we wanted to make someone else hurt as much as we were hurting.
The two of us actually became friends and at the end of the school year we moved away.
Sad thing is, I can't remember the boy's name, but the good thing is that I learned a lesson.
I realize that we create "if's" in our relationships with others.
"If only you were..."
"If I had only known this..."
God's love for us does not depend on what we do or say, on our looks or intelligence, on our success or popularity.
God's love for us began while still held within our mother's womb and will continue to exist when we have released our final breath.
God's love is not bound by time or circumstances.
One thing I have discovered through God's unconditional love, is that although the love is everlasting, our daily expressions and actions concern God. They have to.
To love without condition does not mean to love without concern. God desires to enter into relationship with us and wants us to love God in return. Hopefully it doesn't involve getting angry, causing us to turn away from that love, in order for us to return with a greater understanding.
To enter into an intimate relationship with God without fear, trusting that we will receive love and always more love, is truly what it means to love and be loved unconditionally.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.