Even love defined as all of love is not adequate to explain the kind of love I’ve experienced, both from Amy and from our Christ. And here’s why:
Language at its core is a collection of symbols that society agrees will represent reality. Our words for love are, at best then, tokens of meaning, not exact expressions of substance. We cram letters together and say “this is what those letters mean” but symbols alone can never fully communicate the truth of what they represent.
For instance, you and I both know that the letters “A-m-y” mean my deceased wife and maybe even your former friend. But the experience of, the physicality and spiritual self of—the truth and soul of—“Amy!” is not adequately represented by those letters. In fact, my truth of Amy is radically different from your truth of Amy or heaven’s truth of Amy, yet all our truths are still Amy. In this way, Amy is much, much more than what “A-m-y” could ever mean in any language.
It’s like this also when we begin to speak of love, or heaven’s “agapē.” L-o-v-e is not just what we’ve all agreed that those letters should define. It is unfathomably, immeasurably, inexpressibly more. We know it instinctively, deep within the soul, but we can never adequately define or even understand it.
And so tonight, while I can’t sleep, I look at 1 John 4:16 (“God is love”) and no longer see just a definition of God or love or agapē to catalog and quote with casual indifference. Those three words, those simple alphabetical symbols have now become for me a moment of awe… a reason to worship… an unbreakable promise that the best is yet to come.
Because… I’m beginning to think that love is not simply what it means.
Design credit: Rachel Dawson
Content adapted from "Love is Not What You Think It Is" by Mike Nappa.