“What makes heartache through divorce or break ups so much more difficult for me to deal with than death?”
This was the big question I asked in last week’s post (click HERE to read last week’s post). It is the questions I’ve been asking God for years. Death never brought me so much despair I wished for death but heartbreaks have. (This is not written from the perspective of suicide or violent deaths or relationships that had to end due to harmful abuse.)
The Pain of Free Will
Death is not a choice.
Death is beyond our FREE WILL. Our bodies will die.
Love is a choice.
We have FREE WILL to love what and who we want. We even have free will to choose how much will love others or things.
Love is a commitment to spend time, energy, resources, care, and share life with someone. There are different levels of this commitment in our lives with different people. Those are needed and healthy for us.
The level of commitment that we are finding in marriages (and most relationships) today is dismal. How easily we seem to turn on and off our love for people we have promised to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of our lives. How easily we say “I love you” to people and then run out the door at the slightest hint of a problem or expression of a need.
In relationships there is always a choice. Death isn’t a choice, it’s an inevitable fact.
Yes, when someone dies the relationship is not what it was. The physical presence of that person is gone. The acts of love that were readily available with them in body form are no longer there. There is, however, no grappling with someone’s choice of who and where they turned their love.
When someone leaves the relationship through death, it is not because they no longer loved the people around them.
They did not go because they chose to love someone else or chose not to be committed anymore.
When someone chooses to leave a relationship, they have chosen to stop directing a certain level or all of their love toward another.
When it happens in the context of a committed relationship, it can be very painful.
We all have the freedom to UN-CHOOSE someone. A big fear we all face in relating to others is rejection. Being un-chosen is rejection. We tend to put up all kinds of fronts, play relational games, and squelch ourselves emotionally so we won’t ever feel this terrible hurt.
For me, when someone chooses to turn their love off, I can panic. I get fearful and start doing things I wish I didn’t. I may find myself running away, freezing all my emotions, or fighting back in an attempt to control. There is no peace in taking control. And no amount of fixing, controlling, or manipulating will bring me my heart’s desire, which is for the other to freely choose to love me.
As hard as it is, I must accept that if someone chooses to not love me, I cannot MAKE THEM love me. True love is the kind that God wants from us.
God’s deepest desire is for us to freely choose to love Him. He has been working to reconnect with us since Adam and Eve freely choose to eat that darn apple. It has taken thousands and thousands of years for Him to tell us how much He loves us. It has taken wrath, floods, laws, stories of sinful people, a big book of His Word, hundreds of promises, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and the death of His son. Still, He is waiting for so many of us to freely choose to love Him.
He has the power to build universes and raise the dead, but He will not MAKE US love Him.
And despite our choice, He keeps choosing us–to love us, to be committed to us, to care for us, to listen to us, to meet our needs.
If you have ever felt the pain of unrequited love, divorce, or heartbreak, this is what God feels….all the time, day in and day out, a million times over.
Longing. Heartbreak. Crushing pain. Stomach aches and turnings.
And yet, despite the pain, He will love us even when we don’t love him.
God never finds us unworthy, too much, or too sinful to keep loving. As I heard in church this Sunday, God even said NO to Jesus when he prayed for the “cup to pass”. God wanted us to know His love. He wanted us to be able to come to Him. God found us worthy of a huge, heart wrenching sacrifice with a giant NO to His beloved son.
God feels every day what I have felt when I’ve been un-chosen.
God totally gets what I’m going through because He knows what happened in the garden and He knows how to fix it. It is not His fault I’m learning or going through what I am. I’m not being punished or taught a harsh lesson. I have just experienced the world of Adam and Eve–the world of free choice of love and commitment.
If I had not gone through some break up experiences, I’m not sure I would fully understand how much God feels when we choose to not love.
God, in His own awesomeness, just keeps on loving despite the rejection. This is a good reminder to keep choosing love in the face of other’s free will choices and the potential pain of love.
Death is easier for me because love is still there. I don’t feel un-chosen when someone dies.
I have not lost love, I have just lost the body the love was coming through.
I will miss the person greatly and yet still feel loved.
With divorce and heartbreak the body is still there but the love is gone. It’s hard to watch a body that once flowed with love toward us still be alive and choose to flow love somewhere else.
The truth of free will is I have no control over another’s choice to love or not love. I do have a choice in how I will choose.
I can continue to choose love. I can choose to respond like God does and in ways the bible says is best. I can choose peace. I can choose to remember that I am never really UN-CHOSEN or UNLOVED because God will always choose to love me…and that is a soothing reality when a heart is troubled.
Free will is a great gift from God—for pain or peace.
It is a huge responsibility knowing our choices can have a painful effect on others…and God. And, still, we get to choose.