Frankly real love is not only inconvenient; it is relentlessly demanding. Just ask any couple caring for their newborn baby.
A newly minted dad might very well remind us that love’s sacrificial demands began long before birth. Concern for his unborn child’s health has driven many a husband out of his comfortable bed into a stark night fueled by his understanding that a pregnant woman needs to satisfy her cravings for whatever she wants, whenever she might want it. Speaking of that nice warm bed, a sleep-deprived mother may chime in how the cries of her newborn arouse her to get up multiple times throughout the night to attend to her baby’s needs. In love a husband may choose to sacrifice some of his nights to provide relief for his exhausted wife. To genuinely care deeply for another is certainly inconvenient.
Love soars above merely pursuing what feels good. The shadow of self-absorption fails to encroach upon the threshold of love. To pursue another’s well-being can push people to willingly encounter their fears, forgo their own desires, experience pain or even suffer unjustly. Such genuine love is indeed powerful.
Brushing aside the social fashionableness of wearing golden cross jewelry in order that we might gaze upon roughly hewn wood, we find ourselves standing before the sobering and naked reality of a horrific death-penalty device. Upon one such cross the personification of love confronts us face to face.
While the cross exemplifies the epitome of unfairness to Jesus, Jesus was no victim. Love for God and the world drove him to choose the pain, humiliation, fatigue, suffering, and death played out upon that cross. Without that cross, humanity’s fate had been sealed. Justice demanded the guilty be condemned.
To release us from the demands of justice, Jesus allowed himself to be hung upon a tree bringing himself under God’s curse. To successfully offer such a sacrifice would require one to be blameless otherwise the suffering and death would be deserved. And so innocent life willingly bore the crushing brunt of guilt thus enabling God to remain just while extending the gift of life to a condemned world. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (1 John 3:16 NIV)
To love is inconvenient. To love someone can lead a person through valleys which are unfair. To give the gift of love is a small reflection of Christ crucified.
Love is inconvenient, love is unfair. At the cross we encounter love.