Discovering the greatest love the world has ever known
By Bro Willy Nakar
I remember having filled a form or questionnaire preparatory to a neuropsychiatric (NP) examination in connection with a “physical” I had to undergo before I became active as a JAGS officer (Lieutenant Junior Grade) in the office of the Naval Judge Advocate General, Headquarters Philippine Navy.
There was a box that required a yes or no answer to the question: “Do you believe in love at first sight?”
I answered that question in the affirmative, if I remember it right. My concept of love could be faulted because it had to do with emotions or feelings, mutual attraction between members of the opposite sex, or just plain infatuation. This is the kind that gives a person goose pimples and makes the heart beat faster than usual.
The first time I encountered my wife, Luli, long before we came to the Lord, it was not a case of my hair standing on end, or of bells ringing in my ears, or of seeing the woman of my dreams. No! The first time was when I was crossing a side road perpendicular to Escolta, the famous road in Manila where one could shop for quality products at the time. Before I reached the midway of the side road, a Pontiac sedan just appeared from nowhere and startled me. As it whooshed past me, I saw that it was being driven by a good-looking young lady who was wearing hand gloves. I was not so much impressed by her good looks than that she could have ran over me, right then and there. I must have uttered some negative remark at the time as she vanished from view.
Much, much later, I’d learn that it was Luli who was driving the Pontiac.
Our real, first casual meeting and acquaintance would take place in the company of common friends. From the very beginning I was already attracted to her, and I would like to think that she also found me interesting, to say the least.
We fell in love, and when I was in her company, I felt like I was walking on air. I was on “overdrive” that I was not satisfied just visiting her at home; I needed to call her on the phone for more conversation. And when I knew she was out of the house or that she was busy, I’d just motor over to the street where she lived and just feel her presence as I glanced at the gate and facade of her house.
It was crazy! But I knew it was the real thing.
In a very short while, in my third year of law, we would marry. I described those times as my “impatient years,” and things didn’t work out the way they should have. But God, who is the “Repairer of the breach” and “Restorer of ruined homesteads” (Is 58:12), had other plans.
Now, why am I telling you all these?
Because on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1981, I fell in love again. This time in a more lavish way.
The circumstances were different. God proposed to me first…through the Word of God.
At the Life in the Spirit seminar which Luli and I attended, God spoke to my heart of His great love for all mankind, and for me personally (Jn 3:16). Suddenly, my spiritual blindness dropped like scales when I finally realized that Jesus loved me first (1 Jn 4:19), not just with words or emotions but with the torturous shedding of blood, and the giving up of His life so that I could be saved and receive eternal life on earth and in heaven; to be happy forever with Him.
Before that experience, I didn’t understand that I was and am precious in His eyes and that He loved me and wants to care for me, beyond all telling.
I said “yes” to Jesus by inviting Him to be my personal Savior and Lord forever.
Despite my sins and unworthiness, Jesus forgave me unconditionally and wants to give me the best that earth and heaven can offer. Brothers and sisters, Jesus wants to do the same for each and everyone of you.
I finally found what I was looking for. All my anxieties and insecurity were replaced by the peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding.
In that one event, I really met the Lord and completely fell in love with Him. It was love at first sight. I gave my whole life to Him, my past, present and future. And within the year of my conversion, I told Him: “Lord, there is nothing You will ask of me which I will not give.” I knew in my heart that Jesus not only knew all the answers to all my questions in life; He was the answer. In Christ, I had found the love that would complete me. Together with my wife, Luli, we knew that in Christ, God was calling our family to serve Him. Later, many others would, in our company, fall in love with Jesus, too.
So this is what love is all about. Jesus spoke of it thus: “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). I had never loved anyone like this before.
For his part, the disciple whom Jesus loved (Jn 21:20), the apostle John, put it this way:
Love then consists in this: not that we have loved God but that he has loved us and has sent his Son as an offering for our sins. Beloved, if God has loved us so, we must have the same love for one another." - 1 Jn 4:10-11