How God meets our desire for belonging

The joy of belonging to another is beyond compare, insofar as that Other is loving beyond all compare. If all peoples would be against us unjustly and all eyes lifted against us coldly, and yet if there would exist just one person so greatly loving and affirming of us that the injustice or the injury against us would be an afterthought, we could make it through anything. We feel we could perhaps make it through death itself and still be found aright if the Other’s love for us is that great.

This is the great hope of being loved, which is why there is often such devastating pain in love. For no such lover can deliver all that our heart would hope for.

Or is there such a lover after all?

Through years of friendship and now a year and a half of marriage with Jennifer, I can surely say that we belong to each other, and that belonging to her does provide great solace and delight, especially during the darker days that do come to me periodically.

But I have found that all true desire at bottom is no less than the size of God. None but God can answer the cry from the depths (Psalm 42).

My desire to belong requires that I feel not merely loved, but loved and known, and not merely known about, but entirely uncovered and examined and still be seen as one to be loved. Due to sin blinding me to my own flaws and sheer finitude keeping Jennifer from being able to notice all of them (time would not permit!), there will always be parts of me unknown to us both. These will emerge over the years the more earnestly Jennifer and I together seek God, “who is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). But I can only be so thoroughly known, and thereby so thoroughly loved, by none but God alone.

This is supremely demonstrated on the cross, where God is seen actively loving and sacrificially dying for known rebels to restore their peaceful belonging to Himself. This is then brought into fruition (and fruitfulness) through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, who restores the image of God we were meant to bear. We further come under the transforming power of belonging to a supremely knowing and loving Other. And our belonging is secure because His mercies do not end for those who walk by faith in that reality. All is grace from first to last.

That is the crowning idea behind the first article of the Heidelberg catechism, which I conclude with here:

Question 1.
What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer.
That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)

(a) Rom.14:7,8. (b) 1 Cor.6:19. (c) 1 Cor.3:23; Tit.2:14. (d) 1 Pet.1:18,19; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:2,12. (e) Heb.2:14; 1 John 3:8; John 8:34-36. (f) John 6:39; John 10:28; 2 Thess.3:3; 1 Pet.1:5. (g) Matt.10:29-31; Luke 21:18. (h) Rom.8:28. (i) 2 Cor.1:20-22; 2 Cor.5:5; Eph.1:13,14; Rom.8:16. (j) Rom.8:14; 1 John 3:3.

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