God’s Love for Us – The Ultimate Romance
Love is arguably the word most associated with God but unfortunately seldom realized and acknowledged. We have a habit of playing freely with this word and mostly link it to the worldly things we love the most – our kids, ancestors, friends, spouses, and materials. We are ever ready to fight till death for an inch of the land but we seldom care about responding to God’s love for us.
What Exactly is Love?
An intense feeling of deep affection.Oxford
Oxford’s definition doesn’t involve any condition whatsoever. It calls love the deep affection that could be for anything but the question is, for whom should it really be? You can’t have the same level of deep affection for everything you appreciate in this world. The intensity of your affection for your kids differs from that of the affection for your brother’s kids. And the level of intensity of affection for someone or something keeps changing over time. You love a girl or a guy and it develops into an obsession and you are either forced to let him/her go or you get engaged. In both cases, the intensity of affection reduces over time and for various reasons. Distance is basically the best keeper of the intensity of affectionate feelings. Once this distance is diminished, the curiosity vanishes and you begin to explore the reality of a character whom you loved so much. This exploration mostly works as the Law of Diminishing Return.
The American Heritage Dictionary takes the worldly approach when defining love.
An intense affection for another person based on familial or personal ties.The American Heritage Dictionary
The phrase ‘based on’ is suggestive of conditional affection. This is what happens in most of the cases. Believe it or not, we must accept the fact that our love is based on objectives, hidden or spoken. In this world, the love for people or materials is based on achieving certain ends. What we call a love affair these days is mainly based on the intimate desires and it is bond to weaken over time. 98% percent of love marriages in Lahore (2018) led to divorce (over 18,000 cases in one year) and I am afraid that we need to toss up some other word to replace Love because love is certainly not meant for such an end. Basically, what we call love is an obsession and we need to reconsider our approach towards this term. Why not keep Love pure by only associating it to God’s beneficence (Al Rahman) and mercifulness (Al Rahim)!
God’s Love is taken for granted rather seldom acknowledged
Why am I so keen to limit the word Love to God only? Let’s refer back to Oxford’s definition – it doesn’t involve a condition. If love is unconditional, then there is no real love on this planet; sorry if it makes you feel uncomfortable but the fact remains fact! None else but only God fulfills the criteria of real love because the origin of God’s love for us is unconditional. And this is what makes things even interesting because once we realize that God’s love is unconditional, we tend to take it for granted and don’t even bother to acknowledge this blessing.
God’s love is unconditional in the sense that He doesn’t hate anyone from the word go. God has been loving us all since our creation without discrimination. Despite the fact that God’s love for His people is incomprehensible but still if you want to compare it with an imaginable scale (just for an example because it doesn’t comprehend God’s love by any means) then consider the Mother’s love for her children. Islam holds that Allah’s love for us is more than x70 of a Mother’s love for her kids. This simply is unimaginable because only a mother knows the intensity of affection she has for her kids and even she can’t imagine the intensity of affection that Rahman (The Most Beneficent) has for each of us. But beware of the fact that the phrase ‘unconditional’ applies to the time of mankind’s creation. Yes, God loves every single one of us but there is a twist because no romance is free from Love & Hate trials.
If God’s love for us is incomprehensible then why not do whatever we like?
Dear readers, like all love stories and tragedies you have ever read, the ultimate romance between God and mankind also involves a malicious villain, the greatest of threats to mankind and the mastermind of all corruption, falsehood, and ugliness in this world. We call him Satan (Shaitaan) but there are various other titles attributed to him including the Devil, Mephistopheles, Iblis, Lucifer, and the list goes on.
How, why, when, and why us – please put these questions aside for a while (I will try answering all of these questions so keep visiting at least once a week) and let’s get straight to the point under discussion.
Coming back to Satan – arguably the one who loved God the most before the creation of Adam and Eve. When God commanded Angels as well as Satan to prostrate to Adam, jealousy struck hard on Satan and he refused to obey God’s command. Dear readers, have you ever thought how lucky we humans are that we are blessed with the love of the Supreme Creator, the ultimate reward which Satan couldn’t think of sharing with someone else but his ignorance forced him to lose it all! That is the point where this romance with the Divinity takes a tragic turn and ultimately shapes the supreme romantic legend into a horrible tragedy for a huge majority of those who swallow Satan’s bait.
Satan tricked Eve in Eden and you all know that it led to Man’s Fall artistically depicted in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Why did God punish mankind when He definitely knew that Satan was the culprit? The answer is simple, Satan, after ignorantly refusing to obey God’s command, requests Him for a favour. He asked God to allow him to trick men and women in an attempt to lead them astray. It is the ultimate challenge and God accepted this challenge and the following verses from The Holy Qura’an clearly communicate the exact scenario:
And when We said to the angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He said, “Should I prostrate to one You created from clay? [Iblees] said, “Do You see this one whom You have honored above me? If You delay me until the Day of Resurrection, I will surely destroy his descendants, except for a few. [ Allah ] said, “Go, for whoever of them follows you, indeed Hell will be the recompense of you – an ample recompense. And incite [to senselessness] whoever you can among them with your voice and assault them with your horses and foot soldiers and become a partner in their wealth and their children and promise them.” But Satan does not promise them except delusion. Indeed, over My [believing] servants there is for you no authority. And sufficient is your Lord as Disposer of affairs.The Holy Qura’an (17: 61-65)
This, dear readers, is the beginning of the tragedy and the greatest test of mankind. But don’t get disappointed because as long as you are on the right track, God is there with you and He alone is sufficient so forget about your problems and affairs and let God deal with them as He alone is the Wisest and Authoritative.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.Peter – 5: 6-7
But the condition sneaks in this previously unconditional love. God, while blessing mankind with the artificial intelligence, lets us taste the tincture of free will (predestination and free will shall be discussed in some other post so please keep it on hold for the moment). This tincture of free will is given to us because God has given us a simple choice.
Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful.The Holy Qura’an (76: 3)
To what extent is this freedom of free will is another question, for the moment, this verse is loud and clear and there remains no ambiguity that all God wants from us is being grateful to Him. And we could only be grateful if we remember Him, have faith in Him and love Him more than any other thing or person.
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.Jeremiah – 31:3
Obviously, our memories (Storage Devices) have been formatted and this is what makes the test difficult. We don’t remember the commitment because those are the events from a universe that has its own dimensions and we can’t seek justifications and answers to tricky questions, so let’s not confuse ourselves for a while. Forget why and how and focus on what’s at hand at the moment and where we need to go.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah – 29:11
Two forces want our attention. God loves us the most but on the other hand, Satan hates us the most. God calls us, He encourages us to remember Him in all affairs and stick to the right path. The idea is, when God remains in our hearts, there remains no chance of losing the right track. But Satan on the other hand constantly plays the role of an illusionist, and by the way, he is the greatest of illusionists.
It’s God vs. Satan – With Whom Do You Stand?
Guys, that is the only question you need to ask yourselves. The whole game revolves around the love-hate contention. Let me explain with an understandable example. You must have loved someone – talking about the worldly love affair – and engaged in messaging, texting, VoIP and whatever you call it. How does it feel when you text your beloved and he/she takes some time to reply or even doesn’t reply at all? It hurts, you all know how it makes you feel and to what extent the realization of indifference elevates your frustration. Whatever might be the reason, it hurts the most and even the steel-nerves feel the impact. Guys, God sent thousands of prophets including Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him), Moses (P.B.U.H), Joseph (P.B.U.H), Jesus Christ (P.B.U.H) and finally the chain ends with the greatest blessing to mankind, Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him). And on top of that, God has given us the power to think and realize what’s true and what’s not. We call it conscience, the ability to judge and differentiate between the right and the wrong. But when we act against the will of God, imagine how He feels! Remember, God is the one Who’s love for us is beyond imagination, and when we don’t respond to His message, shouldn’t He teach us a lesson?
Don’t you show egoistic behaviour when you see a double-checked message on WhatsApp and still your beloved doesn’t respond even after having read your message? Such repeated behaviour creates distances and there comes a stage where reunion seems virtually impossible. But wait, the reunion with God is always possible but you have to repent. Remember, Satan wants most of us on his side in hell. God wants to save most of us from hell by showing the right path that leads from darkness and ignorance to the light and virtue. The decision is yours!
Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus is a significant reminder and if you feel the intensity of the closing scenes, you’ll realize that NOW is the time to repent. Return to God before it gets too late. By the way, it never gets too late as long as you are alive. The problem is that Satan keeps telling you that your sins have accumulated to the extent that the revival is impossible. This is the trickiest of baits Satan uses to keep a person on his side. Remember guys, God’s mercy is limitless and all you need is to repent, return you your Creator, have faith in Him, and ask for forgiveness and He will surely forgive you regardless of what you have done throughout your life.
God Never Disappoints
Whoever turns back to God and repents, sheds tears and fears losing God’s love shall find God the most Merciful and Beneficent.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.John – 4:18
Where else could you go? Is there a place where you could hide? Get yourself torn into a million pieces and spread them far apart, Who created you once will recreate you and don’t forget that recreating is always easier than creating something for the first time. And don’t forget that disposing of your physical existence doesn’t mean anything because you can’t destroy your spirit. You ultimately have to attend the grand assembly on the Day of Judgment. Energy could assume different shapes but doesn’t fade into nothingness so trust me, there is no escape whatsoever.
O company of jinn and mankind, if you are able to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass. You will not pass except by authority [from Allah ].The Holy Qura’an (55: 33)
Guys, when we fail to remember God, we leave Him with no choice but to make us remember Him somehow. How would you feel upon knowing that the person you love, loves not you but someone else? This is the most painful feeling and it breaks you down into tears. Such things happen when you forget your Creator. God reminds you of Himself and such apparently miserable incidents are blessings in disguise because they have the potential to push you back to the right path. You find no one who could help you but God alone.
It is a lesson – God doesn’t stop you from loving others but He does not like if your love for others is more than the love for God. Remember, He loves you over x70 your mother loves you. If you love somebody and you can’t see him/her going away or longing for someone else, how could you expect God to ignore the fact that you love things and worldly associations more than you should love God? Sit in isolation, think deeply and please don’t forget to talk to God, He is waiting for you to return to Him. Once you return to God, He alone will take care of all your worries.
Thanks, for your time and please don’t hesitate to mention any corrections and feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section – God bless us all!
I am extremely thankful to Professor Ahmad Rafique Akhtar for sharing his extensive knowledge via his YouTube channel Alamaat Team.