In my recent spiritual formation studies, I continue to see how God accepts our human-ness: our feelings, our failures, even our acknowledgement of our sinfulness. There truly is nothing that separates us from God’s love. Yet I also continue to see how we often misunderstand or can be unintentionally misleading about the Christian life in terms of everyday applications.
Case in point: a recent email devotional from Rick Warren. (BTW, my intent isn’t to criticize him or the writer, merely to point out how we can sometimes be careless in our thinking.) The premise of the devotional was “There is no place that you can go where God’s love isn’t. You’ll never be separated from God’s love.”
“If you want an antidote for loneliness, here it is: You will never be separated from God’s love. The fact is we do lose loved ones. If you’re married, one of you is going to die first. And you will grieve over that. But if you’re a Christian, you’ll never be lonely because you can tune into God’s love. I’m not talking about religion; I’m talking about a relationship with Jesus Christ. His love lasts forever and his love is everywhere.”
The part that jumps out is the idea that “you’ll never be lonely because you can tune into God’s love.” As a friend of mine pointed out, loneliness is a valid human emotion. We are never alone, but we can still be lonely. Being a Christian isn’t about minimizing life’s realities with a magic dial that “tunes in” to God’s love. It’s about experiencing the full range of human emotions – even negative ones – and realizing God is present and loves us in the middle of them.