Let's begin here—this is a love story, dear friends.
God is love, the apostle John tells us, and then he says it again so that we don't forget, "God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God" (1 John 4:16). Love is the single most defining quality of his character and his life. God is a passionate, and jealous, lover. (Is there really any other kind?) Out of his love he creates us for love. "We love, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). The Scriptures tell us we are made in God's image. You'll notice that we human beings are, above all else, deeply and profoundly relational. Because he is. God is a Trinity, a fellowship of love. Love and intimacy are the core of his being, and so he gives to each of us a heart like his. When God does this, he reveals our deepest purpose: to love and to be loved.
This is, after all, a love story.
Why else would love be the deepest yearning of our hearts?
Isn't love the greatest joy of human existence? And the loss of love our greatest sorrow? Do not the two great commands confirm this? "Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27). Love, for this is your destiny. Love God, and love each other. The banners that fly over God's kingdom are the banners of love. It's not about Bible study and faithful church attendance, not even dutiful marriage. Take the heart out of all that and it will absolutely kill you. This story is meant to be a passionate love affair. "I have loved you, "God says, "with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." (Jeremiah 31:3).