The complex relationship between Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon is well documented. These two accomplished men achieved so much, and yet their own insecurities and pride brought pain to themselves and others. On one occasion Henry Kissinger, referring to President Nixon, said, “Can you imagine what this man would have been like if somebody had loved him?” While Kissinger was exaggerating, it does seem true that Nixon’s insecurities which he experienced as a child impacted him greatly in his future relationships.
We are made in the image of a God of infinite love, and therefore all of us long to love and to be loved. So it is not surprising that artists, poets, songwriters, and authors have love as one of their most common themes. Loving relationships give us the greatest of joys: rejection and betrayal cause the greatest of pain. Unlike God’s love which is perfectly pure, human love ebbs and flows.
Over two years ago when my older brother was dying with a malignant brain tumor, I visited him several times in his home in England. He was a physician, and fully understood the dreaded diagnosis. We talked about our upbringing, our parents, our faith and values. He said how incredibly privileged we were to be raised in a home where our parents loved each other, loved us, and where we were also taught the love of God. My brother who was married for over 40 years to a loving wife was the most secure person I have ever met. As we talked about our lives I realized that his deep personal security was founded on, shaped, and flowed from these loving relationships.
Facing his imminent death he said although he had never doubted God’s love for him, he had never experienced the love of God in his own soul so profoundly as he had since receiving the serious diagnosis.
What a gift! Just as a mother hugs her little daughter when she falls and scrapes her knee, so in the crises of life our loving Heavenly Father reassures us through His Spirit and His Word. The children of God are loved with an everlasting love.
Since having these conversations with my brother (now deceased), I have appreciated more deeply the love of God, the love of family, the love of my friends. I have tried not to take that love for granted, and to reach out to others with love, compassion, and hope. The apostle John writes: “Beloved, as God so loved us let us love one another.”