Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

August 01, 2005

The Problem of Love

Love is the problem. To love, to be loved. Everyone who has ever lived has faced this problem and run into difficulties trying to solve it. The problem of love. This problem, this difficulty, lies at the root of all our other problems. It is not a Christian problem. It's a humanity problem. And although Christians say they have discovered the solution--Jesus--the problem still besets them, even as much as it besets those others who go on trying to solve the problem of love by some other means, or through some other power.

So it's a humanity problem, this problem of love, but the great Christian recognition is that it is also a God-problem. That is, it's a problem only God can solve. The great Christian recognition is this: we cannot on our own, through wisdom acquired from men, solve the problem of love. Our best "solutions" are too wrapped up with selfishness and sin, too burdened and entangled, and the weight of it brings down even our highest and best intentions. Like Paul, we know what we must do. We have high ideals. But when we try to carry it off, we make a mess of it.

So love is the problem. Everyone I know is trying to deal with it. Everyone. Even those who have hardened their hearts and sunk into cruelty and rage, they're trying to cope with the sheer magnitude of the problem of love. They have been devastated by its lack.

It was once fashionable, back in the hopeful sixties, to say that love is the answer. But it turned out, as experience was to demonstrate again and again, that we mortals botched the job. Badly. Consistently. The lesson of experience is, we always botch the job. No, love was not so much the answer, but the problem, the unsolvable Rubik's cube of life. It is the problem at the very root of Paul's heart-cry: "Oh who can save me from this body of death?"

Paul knew it was a "who" question, not a "how" question. That is the great Biblical revelation concerning the problem of love. The answer is a person.

Yes, but it must be candidly admitted, we who say we know this person, we who have him in our hearts, nevertheless somehow we're still--so often--stumped by this problem of love. The solution, it would seem, does not solve. Again and again we become aware that we have interposed ourselves, our own thinking, our own striving, our own will and our best intentions (which are always a mixed bag anyway) between the problem and Christ. We shove him aside and say, I'll take it from here. We do not let the solver solve.

Are you facing the seemingly unsolvable problem of love in your own life? Let me tell you, all the wisdom of men falls woefully short. Furthermore, never believe that, now that you're a Christian, this all becomes easy. It's not "a piece of cake." It was not even easy for the Apostle Paul. It was a lesson Jesus needed to teach with his very blood. "Love covers a multitude of sins," said the Apostle John. But such love cannot be found just anywhere. Repair to the cross, my wounded friend. Repair to the cross again and again. There is no other solution.


Blogger John said...

The CROSS, the supreme declaration of love! Great post Bob!


8:56 PM  
Blogger frostykaiser said...

A good point, Bob. The task is not made easier by becoming a Christian; it is perhaps made more difficult. Just as Paul was frustrated with himself, as he could see the solution, but see his own meddling interfere, we too know that Christ resolves the issue if we will only allow Him control of our lives. We acknowledge Him as Lord, then try to hold on to the reigns, thus shunning the craft of the solver. A great post, Bob. Thank you.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Very well said. Good post.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Great to hear from all of you. Thanks for stopping by. ;-)

9:21 AM  

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