Posts Tagged ‘love’

As I have sorely neglected updating this blog, I will post my random, disconnected thoughts about God that I have had in the past couple of weeks or so.  Enjoy.

“We are the children of your mystical union, to share in the goodness of your love.”

“You are my anchor, my axis mundi, and around you I will fix my soul, revolving.”

“God is unpredictable, wild, untamable.  I see God in the Jobian whirlwind, or, as all-consuming fire.  I can relate to the Jesus who casts out the coin-changers at the temple as much as I see Jesus of the Beatitudes.”

“God shows up in unexpected times, to give us gifts we could never imagine.  God is the giver of good things, delighting in our surprise, given at just the right moment. And I am glad that God cannot be contained by our expectations.”

“How is it that the infinite God would pray for your lost creatures, that you would remember us, that you would yearn for us to the point of tears?”

“I want to see and be seen.  To behold the divine and to be held by him.”

“But, I, I look for love in all the wrong places.  When it is you who are my heart’s true beloved.”

“I want to sink into you, and drink from your well.  Engulf me so that I can drown in ecstasy.”

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I’ve been thinking about the “L” word lately (It’s kind of complicated to explain why, but no, I’m not dating anybody and probably won’t for a while). I really don’t mean it in the romantic sense particularly, but perhaps romantic love best exemplifies what I mean in a lot of ways. I think in a lot of ways, I’m mixed between the beauty of it, the purity that comes from one when given selflessly, honestly, and wholly, and between the selfishness, lust, and caprice that are often associated with it. Maybe it was in my immaturity that some of my former relationships became spoiled (both romantic and non-romantic). Or perhaps it is just the very nature of human relationships… Forging lasting and meaningful bonds with other finite and complex beings are not as straight-forward as we’d like it to be sometimes.

Yet, even in the darker and more cynical depths of my mind and heart, I turn my eyes the one love that is baffling in its beauty. If your best earthly friend loves you and is good to you, how much more would our Heavenly Friend be? I think it’s because of him, or mostly because of him, that I find human love to be worthwhile at all. It’s one of the strange paradoxes of the world, because you would think that knowing his love would make me more cynical of human love. In a way, this is true when I consider the fact that no one I ever meet will love me thus (and my own fallen nature would prevent me from loving him as much as I should… but it’s a process). And yet… and yet, it is in the example of Christ as a prototype for sacrificial love that I am able to think of humanity as sacrificial beings. Why is it that we find life and happiness and fulfillment in giving ourselves to another? If God is love, and we participate in love in the right manner, are are actions not somehow akin to the divine? Perhaps the capacity to love is part of our imago dei, and that love finds completion in sacrifice. Maybe therein we find that we become most Christ-like.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” – Jesus, John 15:12-17.

All that being said, I love my friends. You guys are great. ❤ ❤ ❤

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God is continuing to move in my heart.  And I am continually blown away by his persistence in pursuing me.  He calls me with love when I stray and turn cold against him, and he shows me continued, steadfast love as I run back into his arms.  It’s odd that in this time of alienation and isolation that God would choose to show himself perhaps more clearly and persistently than he has ever done in my life. 

Like Israel, when I trusted in my own strength and in my circumstances and did not fully lean upon the Rock of Ages, he hid his face from me.  Though I believed and confessed him, I did not give my self over to him.  Simply, I never felt the need to rely on God.  In those times, he was always “present” but he was never accessible; always “there” but he never felt there.  He let me revel in my pride and did not interfere with my wayward attitude.  Why, then, did he choose to reveal himself to me, now and in this way?  Why in this set of circumstances?  The dynamics have changed and I’m in a new playing field. The God who hid his face from me calls me back to him, as he has done with his people.  He calls me with the love a bridegroom shows his bride.

I cannot help but conclude that my relationship with him has changed in some drastic way.  For though I fail him, he does not turn me to shame, but to hope.  Though I know poignantly the weight of my sin, I see myself no longer as characterized by sin; it is not what ultimately defines me.  I’m perhaps angrier at him than I have ever been in entire life, but that anger is dealt with in honesty and transparency before the Throne.  I see the depth of my poverty only to come face to face with the abundance of his mercy.

Like Job, I do not fully see the reasons behind why things happen the way they do.  I do not see the the answer; I simply see God.  He does not promise to give us a justification of why things occur, but he shows that he is meaning and truth and life.  He gives us himself, and explanations and understanding, though desirable, are meager scraps in comparison to the fullness and the satisfaction that comes from his self-revelation.  Slowly, I open myself to him to trust him more and more. 

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I’ve been thinking about spiritual discipline — and often my lack thereof. It’s hard for me sometimes to be consistent in this area, as I’m sure is true with a lot of people, and I have to wonder what causes me to lag behind in this area. There are times I am successful, yet, I have a tendency to go away from it. I think that my lack of discipline comes from conflicting views of the purpose and results of spiritual disciplines.

On the one hand, I don’t like the idea of falling into legalism. Spiritual disciplines, as I understand it, are supposed to be for the purpose of freedom. God would surely want us to walk unburdened by our sin and to lead lives that are fruitful because of our life in the Spirit. Yet, often times, that which is meant to be liberating ends up being a greater burden to us. We have a tendency to either take it strictly, a necessity to our life that becomes attached to our status before God. This, of course, is not to be the case. Our status before God only depends on the Cross. Our work for him and the way we choose to live out our Christian faith, no matter how precious, is a result of faith, but one that should never be put on a pedestal. Otherwise, do we not make an idolatry of the disciplines? Does that which is supposed to bring us closer to God actually a stumbling block for us?

At the same time, you have to admire those who are so well-founded in the faith that they are able to persevere in holding a consistent spiritual life. Practicing the disciplines are not tedious to them, but is rather a source of joy because it is founded on a stable relationship with God. This doesn’t mean, of course, that they don’t ever fall or fail at their walk, but it sure shows more discipline than I. And yet, this isn’t enough to keep me motivated. I guess I must not really want what they have, or you’d think I’d work on it more. Or maybe I just doubt that kind of consistency.

Maybe I just have to look at spiritual disciplines in a different light. What about thinking of it in the construct of gift giving? As believers, we can give a tangible gift to God, not out of obligation or in expectation of a return, but as a gratitude for what he’s done for us. He is our love in the truest sense, in a way that no other being will ever match, and it is surprising to me how often I would rather give to others who I do not love as much than to give to him. I have a desire to give something to him that is precious to me, something that would have worth and meaning, because he is deserving of such. A “sacrifice” so to speak (though I don’t like to think of it too much in those terms lest the wrong idea is conveyed). There are many little “gifts” that I would want to give him, and though I won’t go into detail about it, it’s just an idea that I think is worth putting out there. God doesn’t require our gifts, but I don’t think that giving to him through love and faith are ever things that are overlooked by him.

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