We were walking back to the cottage from checking out the lake. As we passed by some neighbors we called out, “It is a beautiful day.” He responded, “How hot is it?” We called back, “They don’t come much better than this. It is 90 degrees and sunny.” His comment? “That’s too hot – it is not a beautiful day.”
I beg to disagree. But then again, we are all free to look at things – and especially the weather – differently. We stayed out on the water until nearly 6:00 p.m. A few clouds drifted by overhead. A light, comfortable breeze occasionally stirred. And in my mind, I asked, “Who could ask for anything more?” Well … what about being there with a great book (and Monica, of course) talking about love in your hands?
The book is written by a psychiatrist named Timothy R. Jennings. The title is “The God-Shaped Brain.” Perhaps some of these lines turn your head 90 degrees or more.
“The core, central, primary characteristic of God is love (1 John 4.8) … a boundless, eternal, bottomless, never-ending, reality of goodness on which the cosmos is built! A love that lasts, that creates, that is constant. …
“The law of love is the principle of selfless giving, which is the foundation upon which all life is built to function. Simply put, the law of love is the law of life! … ‘We know that we have passed from death to life because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.’ (1 John 3.14)
“The oceans give their waters to the clouds, which rain over the land, giving their waters to form the lakes, rivers and streams, which in turn give their waters to the plants and animals ultimately giving back to the oceans to start the circle again. The law of love is the circle of giving that is the law of life. All life is built on this principle because all life originates with God. If a body of water separates from the circle and ceases to flow, it stagnates and everything in it dies. …
“We see the circle of love, the law of life, in everything God creates. … Consider electricity: when electricity moves through metal wires it does so by the movement of electrons from one atom to another. They flow in what we call a current, but they can only do so if the current forms a complete circle, which we call a circuit. … The law of love is the design template for all God’s creation because all life flows from him and God is love (1 John 4.16)
“God has written his law of love – his circle of beneficence – in all of nature because it is the design schematic for life’s basic operation. The planets circle around the sun, and the sun gives away its energy freely. Plants receive the sun’s energy and, through metabolic ‘circles’ internal to the plants (Calvin-Benson Cycle), convert the sun’s energy into chemical energy. The plants give this energy to us in the form of fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables, and in the process give us oxygen to breathe. We receive the food from the plants and, through a series of metabolic ‘circles’ internal to us (citric acid cycle), use the energy and convert the molecules to water, carbon dioxide and byproducts of digestion, which we give back to the earth, to fertilize plants. It’s a never-ending cycle of giving.”
“In every living system, if it is to be healthy, the circle must not be broken. (pp 24-25)
However, if in the term “law of love” we picture “love that is authoritarian and commanding, a love that rules over and inflicts punishment for disobedience,” we have missed the point. Rather, the love of our Creator Redeemer God, is a natural, always-giving love that is forceful through its internal dynamics. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment.” (I John 4.18)
While we are free to look at things – even God – in many different ways, these different views are not always accurate. Nor are they necessarily healthy. 90 degrees and sunny is great in my eye, but hey – call me crazy, I enjoy blizzards too (much more than power outages)! However, if you think that your Creator Redeemer God, Jesus is to be feared because he is out to get you … to make you feel guilty or to punish you … you are believing an unhealthy lie … and your thoughts need to be turned by 90 degrees … or more!