“Do you love Me more than these?”

“Do you love me more than these?” each of them asked.

And without any doubt you answered, “Yes”, full of conviction and assurance to give your all—and so you did.

You offered them the moon with the glistening dust in the vastly night skies. They became your poem, your prose and every word in your vocabulary. You sing them to sleep even when your throat can’t function well anymore; you endlessly played the guitar even when your hands were already full of blisters due to too much use of it. Every good morning text and wake up call, every good night sigh and write-up song, every blissful hi and ecstatic let’s-go-out, everything… everything was devoted and only for them.

You gave too much, and that’s the entry point for hollowness.

Void.

You found yourself, in the midst of nowhere—alone and finding no comfort in solitude—enduring the heat of the sun on your bare skin, the roughness of the road on your bare feet, tasting the salty water of grief coming from your beautiful eyes—covered up with your smudge mascara—and barely breathing, walking with no direction at all.

“Do you love me more than these?” each of them asked, for the nth time.

And without any doubt you answered, “Yes”.

You answered “Yes”, the “yes” felt like the last coin in your pocket, the last piece of pizza in the box, the last strawberry flavored cake in the counter, the last butternut—the last breathe of serenity; the last hope you have; the last sigh of relief and the last smile your face could display.

“Do you love me more than these?” It was your turn to ask.

But you heard nothing. You heard nothing but the sound of footsteps intending to walk away from you. You were standing in the core of darkness with not a single soul to stand beside you. The entire yes’s you gave led you to all the no’s this world could offer.

“Do you love Me more than these?” Someone asked. The voice was different from the others, so soothing and so calm. But the familiarity of it faded, as for the last time you heard the question, emptiness found you.

It hit you. “These” sounds massive, big and wholly, as if it would take your life, the totality of what makes you, all your possessions, all that you could breathe and all that you could give—all your all.

You have decided to be selfish. You have decided to give none. You chose to stay silent despite of the question haunting you every minute.

“Do you love Me more than these?”

“Do you love Me more than these?”

“Do you love Me more than these?”

No response.

The statement was answerable by “yes” or “no” but it was like a lump in your throat—to answer is to break you.

“Do you love Me more than these?” The voice asked, over and over again.

Patiently waiting…

Until, “Tell me, how? How to give when I have none? How to love when my heart is no longer functioning the way it that should? I have nothing but this hollowness inside my chest, this darkness in my soul, this heart that is broken and this soul that is aching to surrender what’s left. How? How can I say yes when I have nothing but no? How can I love when I have nothing at all?” You blasted out as your knees touched the ground, with your hands covering your face that was full of tears.

He stared at you for an ephemeral moment, until a smile find its way to His face.

“Do you love Me more than these?”

“…more than these—these heartbreaks, mundaneness, this pain, this agony and these tears. Do you love Me more than these—these resources, these approvals, these school works, and this wealth? Do you love Me more than the “yes” from others, the moon and the stars the world had already gave you. Do you love Me more than these—all these, everything that’s keeping you from seeing me, from loving me?”

“…because I love you beyond these.”

That was when your heart started aching. How could someone possibly break a heart with such gentleness? How could someone possibly light the whole town with such words? How could someone possibly give hope to the hopeless, how could He possibly replace strength to one’s weakness?

“Do you love Me more than these?” He asked. And there was no other way to count on your fingers how many times.

You have never seen a love so faithful—adhering firmly to one’s soul, a love so selfless, a love that endures—until you saw yourself, standing before the cross, blood dripping from the wounds of a Man, and the hammer within your grasp. You have nailed Him but He was still smiling, praying for you, waiting for you to hold his hand again, and loving you with all His will and heart. He is a victor over sin and death; He came from the grave to the sky in pursuance of you.

That was a love; a love that is so worthy of every “yes”.

“Yes.” You finally responded, full of conviction and assurance to give your all—and so you did, this time for the right person for all the right reasons.

 “I love you, beyond measure.” God retorted back.

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