So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel, and they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
Love seems the most vulnerable thing on earth. It leads us to place ourselves in precarious positions, to risk everything for the sake of the one or the thing we love. Love itself seems a very fragile thing, something we can barely hold on to, and since in this fallen earth abuse and ingratitude are so common, we know that spurned love can go from disillusionment to downright hatred. To genuinely and sincerely love someone for a lasting period is the most profound test of our character.
The love of God for us and in us will shape our sympathies and affections. We will learn also how easily the world rejects those who love it in Christ’s name. Lovers are often thought to be fools, and perhaps rightfully so for the logic of love is contrary to the logic of the world. In our understanding of the New Testament Greek, we have often distinguished between philia and agape, or between friendship-love and sacrificial-love, but let us be clear that love has its own character and shape and that in our hearts distinctions and classifications rarely exist. If we love someone, then we love someone, and the exact shape that love will take in our hearts and in our actions will depend on our own character.
God’s love for our fallen world brought about the story of redemption in the Bible, and as the Scripture plays it out the plan of God often seems weak and fledgling, fragile, as if about to topple at any moment. We see the persecutions of the prophets, how the Pharisees and Pilate spurned the love of Christ, and the hardships of the Apostles, and we wonder how in the world the work of God succeeded and continues to this day. But then we realize the power of love, a power unequaled on earth. Real love has the power to motivate hearts and touch lives like nothing else. Only in real love are the demons of selfish-motivations truly silenced in the human heart.
And he who loves has the last laugh. We see the story of Jacob and his conniving Uncle Laban, who tricked him on his wedding night with Rachel’s sister, and we think that to love seems foolish, for then Jacob worked seven more years for Rachel. But in the long view, it is Laban we pity for being so manipulative and not Jacob.
The seeming fragility of love is a myth. Though it hangs the entire plan along a wispy line of thoughts, feelings and actions that may be ignored or misinterpreted, real love endures and changes our thoughts, deepens our character, touches others, and makes life worth living.
God’s love drove Christ to the cross and has ever since driven men also to the cross in response. Let God touch you today with His love, and rest in the reality of this thought, that God loves you.
Lord, we know and understand so little of love, that just a touch of Your love turns our worlds upside down and sets our feet on a different path. We pray for more knowledge of Your love, more spiritual rest in its reality, and more opportunities to share it with a love-hungry world. Amen.