Loving Him for Him

 In God, Prayer

My husband and I talk to a lot of engaged couples prior to their trip down the aisle. We like to try to get a sense of their relationship and where they are in terms of readiness for marriage. One of the questions we will sometimes ask is “Why do you love him/her?” Then, we wait and listen. I won’t lie, a huge warning bell will start to sound in our collective head if most or all of the answers pertain to how “good he makes me feel” or “what she does for me.” Why you may ask? What’s wrong with that?

The problem is that we can’t just love a person for what we gain out of it, or what they do for us. If that is our basis and foundation, then surely we are in for a major disappointment at the first inevitable let down that happens. “But you don’t know so and so,” you may object. “They’ve never let me down!” But I do know human nature, and that it’s unfair to place God-like expectation on someone who is painfully flawed and mortal. Humans aren’t meant to fill the role that only God can satisfy.

Six months into our marriage, I was diagnosed with cancer. If my husband had only married me for what I could do, or how I made him feel, then he would have been wildly unsettled and unfulfilled in those six months where most of my days consisted of simply laying in a hospital bed, too weak to even get up. Thankfully, my husband loves me for who I am. Me. Inasmuch, it doesn’t matter if I feel good, bad, or *gasp* even ugly. He still loves me. And I am so thankful for and humbled by that. I don’t want to be just loved for what I can do or give someone. That’s using a person for your own benefit.

I feel like God wants to be loved for who He is, as well. The sad truth is that a lot of us only turn to Him when we feel we need something, and when He doesn’t give us that thing we want, we turn our hearts away, as well. I wonder, could it be that some of the hard times and unanswered prayers that we face are so that we remember to love God for simply who He is, and not just what He can do for us?

It’s been in the hardest times of my life that I’ve seen God’s attributes the strongest: His love, His compassion, His mercy, His grace. Those are the things that never change. My circumstances will go up and down and all around, and if I’m basing anything of my perception of God on those variables, then I’m in for one truly dissatisfying existence. When I praise and thank and love Him simply for who He is, though, and not for what He’s done or can do for me, then I find a love relationship that is so deep, intimate, and true, that it transcends all my other previous understandings of what love is.

Keep this in mind the next time you pray: are you simply going through a request list and thanking Him for the requests that have already been filled? Try something new. Start thanking Him just for who He is and who He’s been to you. Maybe you don’t know Him in those ways yet. That’s okay. Ask Him to show His amazing self and incredible attributes to you. It’ll change your life. Love Him today for who He is. No one wants to be loved just for what they do, and God is no different.

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