Recently, my best friend’s dog passed away. My heart broke because she had known and loved her dog since before I could remember, and I ached for her loss.
On the car ride home from the grocery store with my mom this afternoon, she looked to me and said she was seriously considering buying me a dog.
Let’s backtrack a little bit. I had begged and pleaded for a dog for just about my whole life. I used to make PowerPoint presentations for my parents showing them the prices of dogs and all the care he/she would need, where to buy the dogs, along with many sappy rescue dog videos. All of a sudden, my heart leaped for joy at the thought of owning a new puppy!
Despite this initial excitement, I began to think more deeply about it. Is it worth it to grow to love something so much knowing that someday, the dog will be gone, just like my best friend? Is it worth it to pour out your heart into someone or something knowing that you will lose them someday?
Then I remembered that that is what Christ did for me, and for the world. He died on the cross thinking of every person whom He had created and loved. He loved deeply and wholly and fully knowing that many would never love him in return, and that they would turn away from Him. Christ is the perfect example of loving selflessly and without expecting anything in return; unconditional. God calls us to love, and I believe that He means no matter what.
Of course I still want a puppy because it is worth it to give and receive that love. But no matter whether love is returned and despite the risk of losing it, Christ calls us to love anyways, deeply, resiliently, and abundantly, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).