My step by step walk through Romans has come to possibly the most treasured but complex verse in all the Scriptures- Chapter 8 v 28. It is timely for me as I have some big decisions to make in the next few weeks and it seems right that I am now dwelling in this text. This mornings sermon has deeply impacted me because it is about the nature of love and we would all do well to listen to it and ponder its consequences. As has often been the case over these last few months, this is a sermon that has forced me to think deeply and pray earnestly.
1. Do you love me?
2. Why do you love me?
We are familiar when this first question is asked of a husband by his wife and the answer is obviously yes, of course I do darling. The second is the follow up. "Why?...." (with a raise in pitch to the voice). I remember hearing Keller teach on this and it has stuck with me ever since. The question "Why?" often forces us to wrongly resort to a 'because' and then attach some attribute. "I love you because I think you are the most beautiful girl in the world". The trouble with an attribution is that were it to be taken away would you still love without whatever quality you attach after you say the words 'because'? Is the beauty you cite the same before and after a terrible car crash that require you to see your wife's beauty in an utterly different way perhaps than the way you meant it in answer to the "because"?
My friend told me that his mother has very sadly recently been diagnosed with alzheimer's. He told me his niece always used to love it that her granny could draw and loved the amazing pictures she drew her. A few days ago the little girl asked her grandmother to draw a princess and she tried to but the picture was very poor as her disease has now taken hold "That's rubbish" she exclaimed running off in a huff. The question one might ask the little girl is do you love granny because she can draw or do you love granny? We are all rather like the little girl demanding her princess.
The right answer is "I love you because I love you"- end of.
That is a wonderful thing for a wife to hear and it is what God demands of us. I love you come what may. I love your essence. The 'you' of 'you'.
Here is the final section of the sermon for you to grapple with: