Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē)
it often refers to a general affection or deeper sense of “true unconditional love” rather than the attraction suggested by “eros.” This love is selfless; it gives and expects nothing in return.
As my boss Rick and I stand looking at six 2-3 year old fillies we have. He asked what horses we wanted to keep. There were some that seemed like the more likely answer than others. For some of them were already friendly, easy to catch and didn’t mind being around us. While on the other hand, there were a few that we couldn’t get close to and seemed to have no interest in partnering up with us. However I looked and saw a beautiful buckskin filly. She was timid and already had a mind of her own. Yet there was something about her that I knew was going to be challenging but worth it. I choose her.
We corralled the three we were going to trailer to the other camp and kept our two friendly fillies and one who needed some extra love…her name is Agape.
When picking the horses, we now were able to name them. Looking at her, I asked the Lord what I should name her and almost instantly, I felt, “Agape”.
I questioned it at first wondering why I would name a horse Agape, after all it is the deepest form of love. And soon after questioning I knew that the Lord was going to do something beautiful through this horse and her name would be symbolic. And four days later, I began to see the importance of her name.
She was the first horse, Rick and I broke for this new season of Pioneer Camp. She was the first horse coming into this new chapter and I soon realized her name was vital. For God’s love is going to come to this camp in great and powerful ways, but first we must pursue a relationship with Him to encounter and welcome that love.
For after herding her into a round pen, two hours later, she was halter broke, saddle broke and I was sitting on her back. She was still timid but learning to trust. Since that day, the Lord has taught me about His love from working with her. He has revealed His greatest desire to be pursued and in doing so, to woe us. For just with Agape, although I wanted to show her my love and build trust, I had to build a relationship with her where she would be able to trust me and accept my love. If I came on to strong, she would run away. I learned it was not in my timing but waiting on the time she needed to learn that I didn’t merely want to use her but love her. Agape is now a horse who loves to be loved. She waits at the gate, whinnies as you call her and loves having her face stroked and muzzle kissed.
Jesus has shown me through this filly that His love is unconditional. It is not based on how we look or what we do, but is already given. We must merely pursue Him and allow Him to woe us. He desires to build a relationship with us, to allow us to experience His hand upon our lives. That we are able to trust Him and come to Him rather than run from Him in fear. The Lord used Agape to show me how He loves me, how He pursues and woes me and how His love is not based merely on what I do but welcoming Him into my life.
For Agape is a horse that has taught me patience, she has taught me that love is not based on our perfection but on Jesus’. For when I first saw Agape, I saw her as perfect, even despite her shyness. And as I’ve been able to work with her and get close, I’ve noticed she has a buck tooth and an injured shoulder that will never look normal, however none of that matters. For love doesn’t look at the things of the world but at Jesus who has considered all things worthy of love. It is amazing that the Lord has used a horse to symbolize that His unconditional love will breakthrough in this camp as those He is trying to woe begin to pursue Him and trust in Him through a deep intimate relationship. For a relationship between a horse and rider is deeply connected. They can feel how we feel and trust in us to keep them safe but also we trust in them to keep us safe. It is a beautiful relationship where trust comes on both sides and the connection is deeply rooted.
I thank the Lord that He reveals His love to us through humbling circumstances, such as trying to train a filly. I am thankful that He continues to show us how much He loves us and seeks a deep intimate relationship with us-not based on works, or imperfections but on His endless pursuit to love us deeply and in return build a relationship where we love Him the same. For Father God is not afraid of our timidness or misunderstandings of what love is. He seeks to reveal His love to us so we will no longer be afraid of Him but draw near to Him daily to seek His love to be lavished on us. We cannot experience His love if we are not willing to let Him love us. For God loves us all and longs for His beloveds to experience and live in His love .
“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”