God’s love is unimaginable. The depths to which He will go to bring those He loves into relationship with Himself are awe inspiring. My own personal experience of being separated from my husband through death has brought richer meaning to God’s love for me.
As you can imagine, it is not easy to learn to live in the absence of someone who has been a constant strength for almost three decades. All my siblings and I have long-term marriages. I have noticed in each of us that we have taken on the characteristics of our spouses through the years. For instance, I became more generous through living with Brian, and he became more willing to plan and save for the future through being married to me. Decades of marriage merges minds as well as bodies and souls, thus your whole being aches when these unions are separated through death or divorce. I have also observed in other widows that the longer you live with a soul mate (I had a mere 27 and a half years) the more agony you feel in separation.
I can only share with you what it feels like for me. As I have been reflecting on the glacier-size hole left in my heart without my husband Brian, God led me to imagine the hole in His heart. His love for the whole world is far greater than mine was for Brian. What must it feel like in God’s heart that holds love for every single person who has ever been born and yet to be separated from most of them because of sin? What a thought! I can't imagine.
Perfect love before the beginning of time must suffer the most from separation between heaven and earth. When I consider the hole in God’s heart created by His love for us sinners, I realize that my pain is far less and must be endured so that God’s resolution can come to be. I am separated from Brian for only a short time (from God’s perspective). It is necessary for me to accept this temporary separation so that God’s work of redemption can be offered to the whole world.
God’s great love is the reason He sent Jesus to overcome death and bring redemption from our estrangement. He has done all and continues to do all to repair the separation that exists.
No wonder God sent Jesus. Jesus is the answer to the gulf between heaven and earth. Acts 13:33 says,
“He has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: You are my son; today I have become your Father.”
I have something wonderful to consider that those who grieved deeply in the Old Testament did not. I know about how God sent Jesus to overcome death and the grave. God’s grief is as great as His love. This thought has helped me to see why God gave us the sacrament of communion. In observing the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist), I am anticipating the time when Jesus’ body and blood will redeem me completely, and I will no longer be separated from God or Brian or any that have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. Having gained a slight sense of God’s love and grief over the whole world, I long to live a life that does not grieve God. As Paul instructed,
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).