I used to question myself, ‘what is love?’ I had grown up with the word, and I knew that God is Love, but until my mid-teens, I couldn’t define it. When I eventually could, it seemed obvious: love is the act of giving something up, so someone—or something—else can benefit from it; this would also mean that the amount that something is loved is measured by the importance of the resources given up for it. This put a whole new perspective on all of the verses of love I’ve read in my life, but one in particular stood out: John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” It’s true that there is no greater resource important to you, than your own life, yet this is the very price that God paid to show us His love for us, and the amount that He instructed us to have for each other.
This past week has been hard on the people of Las Vegas, it’s a pain that has rippled across the country as the nation has poured out their hearts on the victims of this tragedy. While it’s easy to get swept up in the torrent of outrage, injustice, and horror, something that should not be discounted is the immense love and courage that rallied at this event. Nearly everyday this week I heard a new story about how, when in the moment of extreme peril, people reached out to help their fellow man—costing some their own lives. I was impressed, astonished, and inspired by these heroes; who in the dark of night showed valor and exemplified love to the utmost degree.
The level of love that I have witnessed this past week has been nothing short of miraculous. And every time I hear another one, I try to remind myself: “This is what Jesus did for me.” It’s easy sometimes to forget that Jesus didn’t want to die, but He chose to because His love was strong enough to want what was better for us than for Himself. When I heard the stories of how people stayed behind to help others, or ran into danger to save someone hurt, or threw themselves as shields over those whom they cared for, it made what Jesus did seem more real. It was as if I was seeing a snapshot of what God’s love was like.
It says in Matthew 5, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” That imagery has never been more real to me, and I can only pray that, if I ever be in such an hour of darkness, that the light of God’s love can shine through me.