I am coming to find that the greatest gifts within this world are those pictures of God and His relationship to His children. Again and again, God reveals Himself to me through concrete, earthly examples that I can see and understand. He doesn't simply give us words about Himself and then requires our reason to grasp them. He gives us pictures and life that is permeated by images of Himself.
Long-distance engagement has been very difficult at times, but it has also revealed more things about my heart and the way I think than I knew or expected. I am coming to realize that I have a tendency to want Travis to need me, and I am certain of his love when it feels like he needs me to exist or to love him. It comes out in small ways, such as when I want a phone call so that I am sure that he needs me and therefore still loves me. I think this is a typical tendency in women, to desire security and certainty through feeling needed and being assured that their spouse isn't going anywhere because he needs her.
This thinking, and its sinful arrogance, struck me yesterday. It also provides a powerful understanding of our relationship with Christ. Christians are always told that God doesn't need us, or anything else. We hear that he is not "served by human hands, as though he needed anything," (Acts 17) yet we easily think and act as if he needs us. It is hard to believe that His love is freely given, overflowing, and without end. Yet how much more of a miracle is God's love when we realize that He doesn't need us, yet He chooses to love us fully and completely. Security comes when we believe in His love for us, and when we trust His character to love us as a gift, not because He is in need of us.
In a small way, Travis' love—although imperfect—can reflect this truth. When I stop and think about it, I don't want Travis to love me because He needs me. Far beyond that love is the love that reflects Christ and His bride: a love that is unmerited, freely given, and unceasing. We trust and love God by believing in His love for us. Belief is a trust in God's character as "gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." (Psalm 145) In the same way, I best love Travis when I am quick to believe the best of his character and intentions towards me.