A friend of mine told me his funny wedding story the other day. It all revolves around a few hours when he was working behind the bar at a wedding reception.
About halfway through the reception the groom, who was already a little drunk, came and sat up at the bar asking for a drink. As my friend was serving the groom, the groom began to garble at him,
'I love her, I love her, I love her'
a few minutes later the grooms mind appeared to have changed and the groom was beckoning my friend over and slurring at him,
'I hate her, I hate her, I hate her. You have her.'
This conversation between 'I love her' and 'I hate her, you have her' was repeated for most of the evening, with intermittent pauses whilst the groom fell asleep on the bar.
Eventually, the best man found the groom and hoisetd him away from the bar.
The story made us all chuckle a little. But I remembered it a little later and found myself thinking that so often a relationship with God can be pretty similar. We have these moments that seem to swing between this wide-eyed love and this struggle with wanting to give it all up. Israel seemed to have the same struggle throughout the Exodus narrative, and also throughout its time in the land before exile.
In so many ways this describes the human condition. We swing between this deep commited love and this desire to jack it all in.
So what is love really about? The apostle Paul seems to allude to a different sort of love. A Love beyond feelings. He describes love as patient, kind, self-sacrificial, trusting, hoping and persevering. This love seems to involve our actions and our will. We don't always feel like loving but we choose to act in love anyway.
Is this the kind of love God has for us? Is this the love Jesus demonstrates when he says 'Abba, father, Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will'?