Do you remember the excitement when mom and dad announced they were going out and your favorite babysitter would be there any minute? What was it that made those nights so special? For me it was knowing that for the next several hours the rules did not apply. I could stay up a little later. I could eat whatever I wanted. I could make a fort in the middle of the living room, and I could watch the scary movie. And mom and dad would never know… or so it seemed.
In a kid’s world that is a dream come true, isn’t it? No rules. No limits. We can do whatever we want and not have any consequences. What could be better? But, would we have traded our parents for the babysitter? Maybe in the moment, in the mind of a 7 year old we would… for a second. But all it would take would be one scary dream (from watching the scary movie we weren’t supposed to) when mom and dad suddenly became the most priceless commodity in our life. How could we have ever entertained the thought of life without them even if it was only for a second?
And yet, I would bet that if you asked my babysitter, or yours… especially your favorite one, they would tell you that they loved you. And most of them would really mean it. They loved sitting with you, playing with you, allowing you to break a few rules here and there, being the fun sitter that you asked for by name. That love was genuine. But, is it the same kind of love as your parent’s love? Of course not.
The love from our parents included limits, boundaries, and rules. It was annoying, irritating, persistent, and unrelenting. It was standing over us as we cleaned our room for hours when it would have taken them 20 minutes. It was staying up late with us watching us finish homework that we put off until the last minute and didn’t tell them about until bedtime. It was staying awake to hold us in the middle of the night so we could sleep when sickness or fear overcame us.
We use the same word. We call it love. But I think we all agree, that kind of love is a love that runs much deeper than the love from our favorite babysitter. It is sacrificial. It is messy. It is tough. It is at times uncomfortable to receive because its limits deny us from getting what we want. But it doesn’t end. It doesn’t go home at the end of the night. And it’s the love that’s there for us when we break those rules and push those boundaries and have to pay the consequences.
Our Country is celebrating what some are calling a great victory. What is most tragic to me is not that the Supreme Court ruled as they did. The decisions of mankind even of the highest court in our great land are just that… the decisions of mankind. They are of no surprise to God. They neither diminish His authority, nor dissuade His passion for us. What is most tragic to me is that, to use our analogy, the babysitter’s love is being touted as greater than the love of a parent. That is not true. And belief in it will fail those who trust it.
The truth is that no matter what our government sanctions, whatever laws or rules we are allowed to break the rules of the house don’t change. Going to bed at a decent hour, eating healthy, keeping the living room neat and tidy, and staying away from scary movies didn’t just disappear when the babysitter showed up. They still existed. We just had permission to ignore them. Do you remember making the argument to your parents, “But the babysitter lets me do that?” How did that work out for you?
True love does set limits. It sets limits that are uncomfortable. It sets limits that absolutely go against our nature. It sets limits we sometimes don’t understand. It tells us at times we can’t have what we want even if what we want seems to be what everyone else has. It doesn’t seem fair. But that doesn’t mean it is not love.
To my LGBT friends: There is One who sees you, knows you, and made you exactly the way that you are. He knows where you are at and what you have been through. He knows your struggle. He loves you so much that before you even existed in this world, He looked at you and who you would become and then said to His Son, “Son, it’s for her… it’s for her that I’m sending you into the world to die. Because I want to have a relationship with her that will last forever. I want her to have everything you have as my Son.” He’s not a mean parent who doesn’t want you to be happy. He’s a Parent who loves you so deeply that He sets what seems to be unrealistic limitations because what He has for you is a life that is better than what the babysitter can offer you. It is true relationship with the God of the universe filled with deep and passionate love that will last forever.
I know that may be of little comfort to you when your heart is aching for a person that you feel fulfilled by, one that you believe completes you in a way no one else can, the one you want to build your life with. But I guarantee you, that He will be there for you in the middle of the night when no one else is. He will be there to guide every decision and help you through every difficulty. His love is real and yes, it does have limits even on those things that feel natural and right. Don’t settle for the babysitter’s love. It will fail you. Don’t judge His love as hate because it sets limits, or because those who supposedly know His love have judged or mistreated you. Christians are sinners too and tragically do not always love as He loves. But He is the real deal. He knows what sacrificing the love of His life feels like… He gave up His own Son for you.
I also want you to know, my friends, that I share this with you as someone who has struggled with her own identity. My experiences may not be the same as yours, but I believe I understand your struggle from first-hand experience. I have chosen to put God first, to follow His rules, and to dedicate my life to Him. That has meant in some cases, going without, being different, not fitting in with what everyone else in society seems to have. All I can tell you is, I know His love is real. He has not failed me yet and I know by faith that He never will. He has been a part of my darkest hours and I wouldn’t trade Him for a temporary happiness that will ultimately leave me spiritually empty.
Lord, my prayer is your heart’s desire… that all will come to know your love. Thank you for that love. Help me and all those who follow you to show that love to others and especially to those who are struggling with sin – whatever that sin may be. Thank you for your great grace. Thank you for a passion that can never be deterred by the laws and decisions of man. Your love is real and deeper than the deepest ocean. You are real. Thank you for sacrificing your own Son so that we could have a restored relationship with you that will last forever. I love you and I need you, Lord, every day. Thank you for being there to meet us where we’re at.