When I was first starting to follow Jesus I did something that really pissed off my parents. I wrote in sharpie on the foot of my headboard. They weren’t thrilled I had found a new interest in graffiti on my bed, but I still remember what I wrote because it echoes so true.
I drew the cross and underneath wrote “the greatest love story every told.”
In a beautiful display of childlike faith, I looked at what Jesus did on the cross and said that it had to be the greatest love story ever told. That God would send His only Son to die on my behalf and the world’s behalf so that we could be with Him for eternity was wild and brave and the most sacrificial love I could ever imagine.
A few years later when I was interviewing to be a volunteer leader for the ministry, Young Life, I was asked an interview question that I have never forgotten. If someone came up to you in the middle of this university cafeteria and asked you to explain the gospel in 30 seconds, what would you say?
My answer was simple. “The gospel is the greatest love story ever told.”
I lacked no confidence in that. The cross displayed God’s love in a magnitude unmatched by anything else in history – even Nicholas Sparks couldn’t have imagined a love story like that.
But what I’m starting to find so interesting and enthralling now, is that I think I often attributed the love story to being over and past tense, but it’s not. While it is true that “it is finished” and Jesus accomplished everything for us, the love story doesn’t end there by any means. Our whole lives get to be glimmering love stories written by the God of the universe if we let them.
Jesus woos us and pursues us. He gives us gifts in small and big ways just to see our delight because he loves us that much. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in a highly inventive, creative and clever God orchestrating all things for His glory and the enjoyment of His children. The love story between God and His children is ongoing and constantly grows more nuanced and intricate.
I fall more and more in love with Jesus constantly… not because I’m an especially great follower of Jesus or because I put in tons of perfect effort. I fall more in love with Him because of the ways he cares for me and romances me daily. It’s all about Him – not my own attempts. But I have found that the more I pay attention to his romantic pursuits, the more I realize they are woven into every part of my day and aspect of my life. I don’t think the problem is that Jesus isn’t pursuing or romancing us – I think it’s that we don’t always open our eyes to it.
Finding the perfect spot in your favorite coffee shop wide open for you – Jesus.
The city of New York planting thousands of your favorite flower that all bloom in beautiful unison – Jesus.
A friend calling at just the right moment – Jesus.
He is in every part of our day if we would just recognize it is Him and not some cosmic game of chance.
So if you have time for a 30 second, one-line summary of the gospel, I would now tweak it to say:
The gospel is the greatest ongoing love story in existence and our whole lives get to be testaments to that if we allow them be.