Life is full of hassle, and the more we love something the more of a hassle it seems to be. From the people we love the most, to the things we love to do, the greater the love, the greater the hassle. As skateboarders, it is amazing what we put our bodies through in order to do what we love. My body is always aching or hurting somewhere, but I can never stay off of a board for longer than a few days. Somedays I really want to take a week or two off to let my body heal, but I can’t bring myself to do it, I love it too much. It is also a hassle on our finances with all the things we have to keep buying in order to keep doing it – boards, wheels, shoes, etc. And the more we do it, the more often we have to spend the money to replace things. Skateboarding is a hassle that I gladly put up with because of the love that I have for it.
When I read the story of God’s people in the Bible, I see this same kind of thing. God is constantly getting frustrated with His people, but he gladly endures the hassle because of the love He has for them. When the Israelites are led out of slavery in Egypt, they are constantly doing the opposite of what is expected of them. Time and time again God’s frustration is clearly seen in the scriptures, but He gladly puts up with their foolish behavior because His love for them is so great. The moment Moses leaves them alone for a bit, they make a golden calf and start worshipping it as their God. And even after they see God bring bread down from heaven, and see him bring fourth water from a rock, they still question his goodness and motive for bringing them out of Egypt. Whenever they feel any bit of discomfort, they started grumbling to Moses about how they should have just stayed in Egypt as slaves. The Old Testament narratives (Genesis – Esther) are full of stories that leave you wondering, “why does God put up with such a stubborn, disobedient, foolish people?” And the answer is simple, he loves them enough that the hassle doesn’t matter or is hardly felt. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” And if we look at ourselves closely, we should be asking ourselves the same question everyday about God regarding us – “Why does God put up with us and choose to love us when we constantly mess up and do stupid stuff?” And yet again the answer is simple, He loves us with the same “everlasting love” that he did for ancient Israel.
Love involves hassle, and for skateboarders this should be obvious, our bodies are always hurting somewhere and we are always having to spend money on our passion, but it never deters us from doing it. It is a hassle to love something or someone, but that’s what makes it special. To stick through something when it is difficult and frustrating is the real test of love, and the real indicator of how deep that love goes. And God has undergone these same types of struggles in His love for people. We do things that frustrate Him and fall short of what is expected of us constantly, but that will never deter Him from pursuing us and loving us. Scripture demonstrates that over and over again. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” And Jesus says in Matthew 28:20, “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” No human is perfect, all of us do things that cause us to think to ourselves, “what was I thinking?” But luckily we have a God that doesn’t expect us to be perfect little angels that never do anything wrong. Our actions may not always please Him, but luckily our behavior will never cause Him to disown us. Loving a human is a hassle, for God and for us, but thankfully our God gladly endures it because the love he has for us knows no bounds. There is no such thing as hassle free love, if are going to love someone or something, there will be hassle. I pray that we can love like God loves and gladly endure it.
Have you ever ended a friendship or stopped doing something because it became a hassle? How did that test the depth of your love?
Have you ever felt like you yourself were too much of a hassle to be loved by anyone or any God? How can we always remind ourselves that no human is ever too much for God to love and adore?
If God never sees any human as too much of a hassle to love and pursue, how does that affect what we are willing to endure for people?