I recently celebrated my thirtieth birthday and after thirty years one of the greatest things I have learned is that I am loved like a hurricane. “He loves like a hurricane. I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.” At the core of this existence is love. I have stated this before and again I state, like a resounding gong, that the point of all of this is relationships and the thing that connects all those relationships is love. God is love. He is incapable of anything less than love.
I spent some time recently wondering what the word holy really meant. I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around it assuming it resembled something akin to divine perfection. Why would angels repeat over and over “perfect, perfect, perfect?” But in prayer it came to me, to see it from the perspective that it was more alike to the word good. He’s so good, so pure, so loving, never unloving, never evil, never malicious, perfect in his goodness. Not a single experience of bad, never, ever. It’s like watching an Olympian do a perfect run, a perfect routine. Flawless. So good, not a single flaw, and God’s routine is love. What he does is love. And it’s perfect. How he loves is perfect, the love itself is perfect.
I stood there in my prayer group, in the middle of worship, with my arms raised, worshiping God with everything in me. Every ounce of focus and sincerity in me was in that worship to him. I love him, maybe because he loved me first, maybe because of how he loves me, but in consideration the why is irrelevant. To ask me why I love him seems a ludicrous question now. “What do you mean why?!” The idea of not loving him seems so…bizarre, even though I know at times my actions will contradict that. In a moment, as my eyes were closed, I saw in my mind, in my spirit, that I was standing in a vast plain of tall, super-green grass, blowing gently in the wind. I was looking into the sky, the bluest sky I had ever seen and light was everywhere, but there was no sun. I could feel just a slight amount of moisture on the air from dew on the grass. It felt like the first day of spring, the most perfect first day of spring. The vision itself is not what shocked me, but the feeling, the emotion that came with it. The sudden innocence I felt was…astounding, remarkable, wondrous. It immediately brought tears to my eyes as I realized that I had not felt that way since I was a child; six, seven years old. Before being heartbroken, before guilt, before accusations, before insecurity…innocence. I wept.
I suddenly remembered what I had been praying for. For weeks, months maybe, I would see friends in my prayer group crying because of the love of God and in my mind I understood, but in my heart I just never felt moved to that extent. The last time I remembered really crying was at the loss of my father and even that was minimal. How had I become so hardened? How in a single moment was a heart of stone transformed into a heart of flesh, like God just took one whack in the perfect spot and a shell of granite fell off. One experience after the other, slowly building up that shell over the years and it wasn’t one of bitterness, but of protection. You had to learn to take the hits and keep moving forward. You get hurt, you forgive and you move forward, but the calluses build up over time. I am restored by the only one who could restore me.
Now, as I write this immediately after time in prayer and worship, I couldn’t help but repeat over and over “love boldly, love boldly, love boldly.” I had asked “How do I love you back, Father? How do I even attempt to love you back the way you love me?” Love boldly. The two greatest commandments rolled up into one new one, given by the Lord himself, Jesus Christ. “Now, a new command I give you, love others as I have loved you.” Boldly. In every action, every thought, every prayer, everything you put your hand to do, do so loving boldly. And suddenly, what I should be focusing on is clarified. The purpose for what I was made for, the reason I am here, my destiny, is how I love better than anything else, so to love as boldly as I can is to love boldly in those endeavors. For my thirtieth birthday my Father gave me Bold Love.