Recently my sister-in-law, Kim, was called to the front lines.
I still remember the first time I met Kim. She was my older brother’s 16-year-old girlfriend. I would have been about 11 at the time. I remember thinking to myself, “How did Jerry get a girl that beautiful to like him…let alone date him?” As the years have turned into decades I’ve come to realize that Kim’s beauty comes from the inside. She’s smart, accomplished, tough, kind, hard working, faithful and resilient.
Just about a year into their young marriage, Jerry and Kim had their first baby, a little girl. Shelby. Then about not so many months later they had triplets. Yup. That’s right. Four little baby girls in diapers, all within 18 months. Kylie, Christi and Abby. This just about broke them. Certainly there is no better gift than a human life to care for and to love…yet four tiny littles. At once. Four diaper changes. Four snuggles. Four car seats. Four cribs. Four multiple feedings a night (What is that, 16 sleep disruptions a night? What sleep?).
From the very beginning of their marriage, God was telling a love story. This love story didn’t come with a notebook, no chalet with a veranda. This was a love story of a different kind.
So when Kim was deployed to the front lines to head into Methodist Hospital, the hotbed of COVID-19 cases in Indiana, she was ready. She didn’t hesitate. Her heart was beating with compassion for the sick and she was ready to care for them.
I was reminded of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural Address. In this famous speech, JFK elevated our thinking as he reminded us that that an enduring love story, is a story of a different kind. “And so my fellow Americans,” he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
This idea that, “love gives no matter the circumstances,” where does it come from? This higher idea of:
Staying up all night feeding and changing four babies, when you could be sleeping?
Running to the front lines, when others are sheltering at home?
Asking what you can do for others, when you could just be looking out for yourself?
Where did this higher idea originate? I mean, where did this really come from?
There are all sorts of worldviews to help us figure this stuff out. There’s Naturalism, Pantheism, Postmodernism, Islam and such. But the one worldview that resonates with me…the one that is most consistent with reality is Christianity. In the Bible, as recorded by Moses in the first chapter of Genesis, while describing the creation account, there’s this little word. A two letter word, “us.” This word doesn’t appear until we see God creating humans. God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” This is such a small portion of Scripture, but with deep worldview implications. God the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, in their complete love, joy and satisfaction in the unity of the relationship within the Trinity, decided to give and share with humankind. Verse 28 of Genesis chapter one says that “…God blessed them…” And in verse 29 God says, “Behold, I have given you…” and God goes on to describe His kind provision over humankind.
From the beginning, God gave. Out of His infinite love He was generous and He gave.
Fast forward to the life of Jesus…In the climax of the Bible, we see this theme emerge once again. To an unbelieving world, John 3:16 may seem as only game day face paint for a Tim Tebow type of character, or perhaps a sign in the clutter of the crowd, but in this one little verse is contained this love story of a different kind, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
There it is again. God loved the world so much that he gave. And man, he gave it all. Remember that little two letter word in Genesis chapter one, “us?” That two-letter word represents all pleasure and satisfaction of eternity past…that two-letter word means everything to a Father.
God gave it all. He looked out over His creation and he thought, “it was very good.” But He also knew we had a big problem. And a problem that we humans could not solve on our own. In His great love for His people, He gave. He gave us Jesus to save us from sin and rescue us from death. And it came at the highest price to a Father.
That’s love. That’s a beautiful love story. That’s the very blueprint from which all enduring love stories get their code. So when an unbelieving world sees a nurse volunteering to head to the front lines, to save the sick and comfort the dying, the world gasps at the beauty of such love and generosity. What we are gasping at in those moments, when we are on our heels in amazement, is the blueprint of the Gospel. This higher idea that “God so loved the world that he gave…” has been made plain to us and we recognize it as true beauty when we see it. It’s the inescapable impact of the Gospel on the human heart. That’s a love story of a different kind.