Love and freedom are fundamentally connected. So much so that there cannot be one without the other. For love to be true, it needs to be free. Love cannot be forcefully manufactured nor can it be kept alive with threats and manipulation. At least not for long. Love has to be free, freely given and freely received, in order to have a chance to be everything that it can be. There is simply no other way.
So, why is it so hard for me to let love be free? Because it is tremendously risky!
Love necessitates freedom, yet freedom inevitably implies risk. When I fell in love and opened up my heart to my Martha, there was a chance she could have said “no, thank you”. When I asked her to marry me, she could have very well rejected my offer. For the last eleven years of our married life, she could have packed her bags and left me. And how about our precious girls? We said “yes” to having babies, but that desire did not automatically bring forth our two daughters. A million things could have gone wrong, keeping us away from the love we yearned to grow and share. As a matter of fact, some things did go wrong. Yet, here I am today. Happily and stubbornly married, ruled by one stunning woman and two precious girls. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Being aware of the risks that would come my way the instant I opened up my heart, I could have very well decided it wasn’t worth it. Things could have gone terribly wrong. They could still do. They do for many of us. Maybe they have gone horribly wrong for you. I am sorry. No one should experience the sorrow you are experiencing. But is there any other way to love? If there was, wouldn’t God himself have chosen the easier, safer path? If Jesus could not avoid the dangers, and ended up dying in order to reconcile us to Himself, how could we do better than Him? We cannot. If God was not able to avoid the risks on his way to love, neither can we. So, what’s the good news in all of this? I’ll tell you: because God took the bull by the horns, at an incredible and irrevocable cost to Himself, we can face the risk and heartache of love knowing that a happy ending is guaranteed. God took the brokenness of our friendships, homes and communities. He let them nail Him to a cross, and then defeated their darkness by leaving the tomb where they thought they could keep Him forever empty. Completely empty!
Simply put, we can face the risks of loving and being loved knowing that, because of Jesus (our true friend and lover), those dangers will never be the end of us. We will not die by the side of the road, prey to abuse, rejection or neglect. Thanks to Jesus, who braved the dangerous way of love, we can courageously love and be loved knowing that no matter what comes our way, in Jesus, true love will never be wasted or lost. True love will always and forever be redeemed.