Everything about God is infinite. Isaiah 40:28: Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? He has no beginning, and no end. He does not age and sees all things that take place, and knows everything that has ever happened. He holds our futures in His hands. He is all encompassing in every aspect of His nature. God is not just merciful; He is the living embodiment of mercy. He is not just forgiveness; forgiveness is the essence of who He is. God does not just have love; He is love. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love (1 John 4:8).
Mankind has an inherent yearning for love that is so powerful, it borders on being a biological necessity, like food and water. Loneliness can be the bleakest condition for a human soul. We are designed to live in structured families, drawing a sense of belonging and building mental stability from one another. But even with an ideal support network of loving friends and family, without God, something will still be missing. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: (Psalm 119:81). A hole shaped like God exists in the heart of every man and woman.
In a perfect world, all people would receive the amount of love they need from others and God. This certainly would have been the case if man had not sinned. But hate was part of the curse. Just as God’s essential nature is love, the devil is the pure embodiment of hate. Look into Jesus’ eyes, and you will see nothing but love. Look into Satan’s, and you will see nothing but hate. Since the fall of man, the devil has had free reign to cover this earth with hatred, and under his influence, human beings have done unimaginable things to one another throughout the centuries.
Take, for example, child abuse. It is incomprehensible, but it does happen. Children are not just the most innocent among us; they are adults still in development. Abusing them is such a crime because their bodies, neurons, and minds are still shaping and if any serious trauma is done, the emotional damage can last their entire lives and be almost impossible to reverse. We limit the degrees and depths of child abuse; society is horrified by the idea of molestation, or an alcoholic father who beats his offspring, but we largely turn a blind eye to bullying and isolation by other children. We’ve written it off as a “part of childhood,” while making adult-child abuse into a felony. But psychological studies have shown that the devastating long-term effects can be indistinguishable between bullied children, sexually abused children, and children beaten by parents.
That valley of human need is where the church needs to be reaching. We are sorely lacking in our mission of finding those who are hurting and bringing them God’s love. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18).
People who have endured great traumas, especially as children, end up with feelings of worthlessness, which can lead to self-destructive behaviors. One needs to look no further than local high schools, which are often breeding grounds of pain and suffering for young people. For every popular, good-looking teenager front and center is an overweight, unattractive one hiding in the filthy underbelly of this toxic environment, arms covered with self-inflicted scars from compulsive cutting. All addictions, from habitual self-mutilation to alcohol to drugs and pornography, are mind’s way of distracting from a feeling of constant, unbearable pain. Addictions create a sense of feeling good initially, but once the rush is over, they leave the soul still feeling empty inside. Then the person goes back to the addiction, attempting to fill that emptiness again, but it never quite satisfies. This deadly cycle will go on for years, often ending in tragedy.
Addictions come in many forms, but that basic truth is the umbrella hanging over them all. Some are only recently being identified and studied. The concept of love addiction might seem strange to anyone in a stable, normal relationship environment. Being loved, or loving someone, creates a chemical rush of endorphins in the body that can itself become addicting, especially for lonely people who have felt deprived of that feeling. Love is a creation by God to edify people, but the devil will twist and warp it into something toxic, and the results can be devastating. Fueled by the constant desire for love, approval, and acceptance, a person will have romantic feelings towards another, but the lack of self-confidence will cause them to love that person painfully from a distance (this is called “torch-bearing”). Or, they can’t handle being rejected by that person, which can lead to obsession and stalking. Love addiction also causes people to turn repeatedly to toxic relationships, where they are beaten, abused, and put down by the one they love, because they feel as if they don’t deserve better.
Since the fall of man, the devil has wreaked havoc on the human race, not just through physical illness but by warping psychologies and destroying the soul through the mind. People without God are longing for a sense of being loved, which drives them to sex, drugs, pornography, or alcohol; anything to satisfy the incompleteness they feel. But it never works, because in the end, only God’s love can do it. Psalms 147:3: He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Obsession is like a tree. It springs forth from the mind, and so many people attempting to treat it simply try to reduce the obsessive thoughts or compulsive habits. But this is like trying to saw the limbs off the tree, and even if we cut to the trunk, roots lurk underneath. The roots are like the deep-reaching traumas from the past, buried deep within the subconscious of the mind. So many attempts at psychological treatment for addictions fail because they do not address the root causes of the problems.
When I stand on a beach, I go to the edge of the water and let the lapping waves wash over my feet. To gaze out at the sea is humbling; the ocean stretches into the furthest horizons and I cannot fathom everything underneath the surface within my field of vision. Many fish and sharks and rays and creatures in the undiscovered depths are hiding beneath the waters. God’s love is so much like that; stretching into eternity, with so many undiscovered depths and living nuances hiding beneath, that can never all be discovered. Jeremiah 31:3: The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
God’s love is like a sea that never ends, or a well that never runs dry. Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:13-14 that Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst. For those who are thirsting for love, they can drink from the God’s limitless well. And He longs to give us that love; He cannot stand to see His creations suffering. Human love is fallible, but God’s love is divine. It is the only thing that can fulfill that emptiness within. We can open our hearts doors to His love, and He will send it down to flood our innermost beings and fill us completely until we are overflowing. Our longing hearts will be satisfied at last, and our subconscious will not need to turn to compulsive behavior or addictions anymore.
How has He demonstrated this love? When God spoke the universe into existence, it didn’t take all His love. When He created man, it didn’t take all His love. When He saved Noah’s family, when He sent Moses to lead His children out of bondage, or when He performed every miracle in the Old Testament, it didn’t take all His love. But when He sent His only Son to die on the cross, it took all the love God had. His love is eternal, but all of it was poured into Calvary. Jesus’ outstretched hands, nailed to the cross, stretch from one end of eternity to the other, and God’s love fills the area in between.
And we must bring that same everlasting love to others. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen (1 John 4:20)?