Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Does Love Feel Like Death?

Perhaps because it is sometimes.

Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in [our] protection from suffering.

The Love of God is of a different nature altogether. It does not hate tragedy. It never denies reality. It stands in the very teeth of suffering.

The Love of God did not protect His own Son...

...He will not necessarily protect us - not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process.

~ Elisabeth Elliot
{Passion and Purity, Pg 84}

So God is love. He is the Love that many persons abuse, saying "If God is love then I should be happy." Or "I should have this or that." Oh no, because God is Love you shan't have this or that; you will live on caster oil, weekly baths, early bedtime, early rising, hours of prayer on your knees, and learning how to deal with annoying so-and-so.

Love does not protect us from everything, certainly not hardship and difficulty. Love allows trials in order to make us like Christ Jesus Himself. It is Love which desires our best, not what is easy. It is Love that calls for discipline when we sin, for discipleship as a way of life. It is Love that won't let us "get away with murder" - or gossip, or slander, or lust, or white lies, or anything else we pass off as "minor sin".

Oh God, why do You have to love me? It hurts so much!

No wait, He doesn't have to love me. He chooses to. And I choose to attempt loving Him back, though my efforts are feeble. My love for Him is not a correcting, consuming fire (how can the imperfect creation be the standard for the perfect Creator?). Instead, my love is humble gratitude for His patience with me, for His desire to not leave me as I am, for His willingness to redeem me with the blood of His own Son.

Oh Love, You feel like death because you prune wickedness out of my heart! Oh Love, Your sharp shears clip selfishness off at the root over and over again! Oh Love, You cannot leave me wild and overgrown like You found me. You carefully prune and tame me, cleaning dirty branches, clipping others, shearing some off completely. By helping me say "no" to the bondage of sin I am free to live righteously. In obedience there is freedom. In discipline and trimming there is order and life.

What feels like death is death, and yet it is life, too. What a paradox and great mystery. What painful kindness of Him called Love.

~ Johanna

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;

As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's

Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;

Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;

Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —

Christ — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His

To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"We were made not primarily that we may love God [though we were made for that too] but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest 'well pleased'.

To ask that God's love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labour to make us lovable.

~ C. S. Lewis ~

The Problem of Pain, Chapter 3