At least real, true love does.
Relentless, selfless, overpowering love does.
Fierce, unstoppable, fall-to-your-knees-and-beg love does.
Have you felt the sting of this love? Has your body ached from head to toe as it has been ravaged and consumed by this love?
I feel it… Love that hurts. Deep breaths burning as love inhales.
I love my children. My heart bleeds for them. The day I sent my oldest off to Kindergarten I feared I might never breathe again. And then the moment when my youngest was taking longer in the O.R. than expected– One hour longer than expected– With each passing minute I felt a strangling grip around my neck growing tighter and tighter. Or, the day I loosened my arms from my baby boy to return to his birth family… Inexplicable emptiness.
Yes, love, so passionate and pure, it hurts.
And sometimes I wonder why this is the life we live? Why the best feeling can be the impetus for the worst? Why hope and joy can propel us to the deepest despair?
Sometimes I feel trapped. If loving is part of living, then why must so be suffering?
But, if I were honest– If I dissected those tears that streamed from behind my sunglasses when I told my oldest I would miss her, or the ones that seemed to freeze in my eyes in fear as I waited for the doctor to appear with my youngest, or the ones that glued my cheek to my pillow after saying goodbye to my baby boy– I would find that mixed with those hurting love tears were drops of wondrous perfection.
Drops reminding me that I only hurt so much because I love so much. Drops reminding me that I’m fully alive. Drops reminding me that I’m closer to the heart of Jesus than I’ll ever be.
I’ll never be able to fully understand the love of God this side of Heaven. I’ll never fully get all that was going on in Jesus’ mind as he made his way to Calvary. But, there’s something in the pain of love that helps me understand God’s heart the most… That a perfect God would be personified as love. That a perfect God would hurt for us.
Why would a perfect God hurt for us?
If there’s any emotion I want to escape and avoid, it’s hurt. And yet, love and hurt are inseparable. Love and hurt drive compassion.
God embraces this.
My sweet baby boy returned to me 7 weeks ago. An unexpected phone call on an unsuspecting day. Something so dead in me was abruptly, suddenly brought back to life. And once again love pushed me into pain. Confusion. Ambiguity. Uncertainty. Vulnerability. Smelling that precious gift once again.
Foster parents know what it’s like to take the fullest, coolest drink and for their thirst not to be quenched. Foster parents know what it’s like to savor every moment with joy and trepidation not knowing when it will be their last. They know what it’s like to love and hurt in the same laugh. It all swirls together. It doesn’t make sense to do what foster parents do. It’s so unnatural. But, I believe most foster parents would say that love compels them… The heart of God compels them.
So with precious baby held tightly in arms, I pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” realizing that even in the hurt, Heaven and Earth are colliding. Jesus teaches me not just to love, but to love until it hurts. That’s what he did. And his grace wins. Every time.