I’m wrestling with some existential stuff again.
Although the past few months have been some of the happiest I’ve had in a very long time, some of the same questions I struggled with before about purpose and meaning have cropped back up.
There is a part of me that is so unsettled by not having explanations that fit into a nice and neat box for one question in particular. Whenever I think I’ve found a satisfactory answer, I notice a few big pieces still sticking out from the sides of the box.
What is this daunting question I’m asking?
How can God truly love every single person, and love them all the same?
Because if He does love every person equally, that means my theology can’t just revolve around myself. What I believe about God’s love for me has to take into consideration the fact that God loves every single person just as much. For example, look at these common statements we tell ourselves.
God has a plan for me. God works everything together for my good because I love Him. God wants a deep, intimate relationship with me. My life matters to God. He loves me and knows everything about me.
If these are all true, then they are true of every other single person on this planet. All seven billion of them. Seven. Billion. These things are true of those in first-world countries and third-world countries. Of those who are oppressed and those who are oppressors. Of those who feel called to inspiring professions and those who work menial jobs just to pay the bills. Of those who wait to let you out in traffic and of those who cut you off. Of those who are American and those who are Kazakhstani. Of those who live to be 100 years old and those who only live a few hours. Of those you love and respect and of those you passed today and didn’t even know.
Is that not a little mind blowing? Difficult to wrap your head around?
Maybe it’s hard for me because to answer this question about God’s love means I have to be able to make sense of everyone else’s stories. I can believe God loves me because I can see how His hand has moved over the course of my life to use things—both good and bad—for my wellbeing. But what about people who have lost loved ones in tragic accidents? How about those who have endured years of abuse, or live with scars from deep emotional pain? How can God love these people who have yet to, or worse, can’t make sense of what’s happened in their lives and in the lives of those around them?
How can God love everyone the same?
I am reminded of these verses in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians about the greatness of God’s love:
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” – Eph. 3:18-19, NLT
If God’s love is so immense, why am I struggling so much to understand how everyone fits equally and the same into it? The answer, I think, is that I’m using ME and my relationship with God as the starting point. I’m using my experience as the lens through which I’m making sense of everything else. Newsflash to self—using my limited perspective doesn’t work.
In reality, I think the approach I actually need to be taking is pursuing what it means to know who God is, unfiltered by who He is to me. It starts with reading passages like the one in Ephesians 3, which says God’s love is greater than the human mind can fully fathom, although it should be our goal to press hard into experiencing new depths of His love.
When I start with seeking to understand God’s heart first, rather than starting with my own personal understanding of Him, I believe I’ll come to find that He is a “box” far big enough to fit all of my questions into. His truth and the reality that is to be found in His Word will satisfy.
It’s time to get outside of me and trying to make sense of God’s love. It’s time to go after Love Himself and let Him show me how His love is endlessly, immensely sufficient for everyone.
Every. Single. One.