Falling in Love with God
by Bob Hostetler
Not long ago, a friend of mine told me the story of an evening when he, his wife, and a few friends from church were sitting in his home, talking about the life of faith. In the course of the conversation, someone used the phrase, “falling in love with God.” A few moments later, someone else said something similar, and still another added a mention of being “in love” with God.
The conversation broadened and deepened over the next few moments until Melissa, a young mother in the group who usually listened and smiled without saying much, finally summoned all her courage.
“What are you guys talking about?” she asked. “What do you mean, ‘fall in love with God?’”
The room fell silent.
A few of them looked around at each other. Some stared at the ceiling. Or the floor.
But no one had an answer.
Every human soul—whether he or she knows it or not—desperately longs to be united with God in a real, loving relationship; one that is like that of husband and wife, but greater; one that is like that of parent and child, but stronger; one that is like that of friend to friend, but sweeter.
But how does it happen? Many people have experienced it. But others can’t imagine what kind of person would speak in those terms, or what kind of experience that would be. Is it a mystical kind of thing? Is it reserved only for the super-spiritual? Or the lunatic fringe? Or can anyone do it? And why would anyone want to?
Falling in love with God is not a function of our intellect; we cannot think our way to it. Nor is it solely an emotional reaction. It is a process that involves the whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. And it begins as we ponder the dimensions of God’s love:
1. Grasp how wide is God’s love for you. How wide is God’s love? Wider than the world. “As far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12, NIV). No matter how far east you travel on this globe, you will never arrive to the west of west. Nor will you ever reach the limit of God’s love.
2. Grasp how long is God’s love for you. The Bible says, “The steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103:17, ESV). His love is infinite. It reaches to eternity past and endures forever.
3. Grasp how high is God’s love for you. His love “is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth,” the psalmist David said (Psalm 103:11, NLT). It can accurately be said that God is “over the moon” for you.
4. Grasp how deep is God’s love for you. How deep is it? It’s this deep: God told the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute to show how far God would condescend to woo you, win you, and make you his own. He will love you regardless of your past. He will love you in spite of your shame. And he will love you in, through, and beyond your pain.
In fact, I believe that’s why the book of Hosea is in the Bible—because God wanted to give us a graphic, impactful, unmistakable story that would help us to fall in love with him. Hosea’s story of heartbreak, betrayal, agony, and redemption is the tale of God’s love for me, and for you. But it is not a story that is meant to be simply understood, the way you understand a movie or a book; if that were the case, God could have simply explained his love to Hosea. But that’s not what he did. He had Hosea experience what God’s love feels like—how far it goes, how deep, how high, how long, and how wide—so that we can experience it, too.
Based on excerpts from Falling in Love with God by Bob Hostetler (Leafwood Publishers). Bob is a writer, editor, and speaker from southwest Ohio.