Tuesday 10 April 2012

Responding to God's Father-Love

As I continue to explore the idea of my love for my children being a (woefully imperfect) reflection of God's own Father-love, I find myself being more aware of not only the various facets of my love for my children, but their own responsive love towards me. This Lent was, for me, a beautiful season of considering the ways in which God loves me as a Father. During this Easter season, as the church remembers Christ's post-Resurrection time on earth and awaits the celebrations of Ascension and Pentecost, it is this responsive child-like love that I will be inwardly reflecting on.

My children love me without reservation, even on my worst days. They rely on me wholly, trusting me completely. They love nothing more than to spend time with me - reading, talking, playing, snuggling. They just want to be near me. Always the pendulum, swinging away in their independence and swinging back for connection. Their desire and love is so effortless, so natural, and so complete.

I am reminded of words I have written before:
The baby cries. I open the door to go to him and he reaches for me with everything, every part of his body straining, as only a baby can, to the source of his comfort and nourishment. I lay beside and he rolls into me, snuggles against me, rooting for food and reassurance. As I nurse and cuddle him peacefully back to sleep, I wonder, when did I last reach with such full-bodied purpose to the one true source of comfort and sustanance? Yearning, straining, reaching, as an infant for its mother, wanting nothing more and nothing less than the safety and provision of the Father? Provider, Sustainer, Giver of Life!

So it should be with me. And yet I discover, once again, that I long for a more intimate sense of God's love with one part of me while continuing to hold Him at arm's length with another. Why do I do this?

I love God as fully as I can at this point in my journey, even while knowing that the same only leads me continually to deeper love as I travel farther along the path. I trust Him, knowing that He is Good even when I don't understand. And yet I know there remains a missing piece. I love Him, yes, but I lack that child-like consuming reliance on and desire to be near the Source of all that is good. I go about my daily work, but I fail to continually return, reconnect, and refocus. I trust Him as the Provider of our every need (are we not of more value than the birds and the flowers?), but I live and worry and work as though it all depends on my efforts and comes from my own hands. I love Him, but with an intellectual love.

We love because He first loved us; even while we were still sinners, He loved us. Our love for Him and others is rooted in, comes from, and is sustained by His own love for us. I cannot love others in the way He desires me to unless and until I have embraced His love for me and responded with my own heart-mind-soul love for Him.

Surrender. This is the word that comes to mind as I reflect on this. What would it mean to wholly surrender to my Heavenly Father? What am I holding on to that is preventing me from doing so? I don't have answers yet, only questions to wrestle with and pray through during the weeks to come.

Thank you, Lord, that you are continuing this work you have begun in me, and will be faithful to complete it in the end.

1 comment:

  1. "I love him, but with an intellectual love." I feel like that's where I am right now. And I don't know how to get that love into my "heart" or my "bowels" or whatever the proper terminology is. I'm reading a book on The Jesus Prayer right now (titled just that by Frederica Mathewes-Green) and it was talking about this exact thing. The mind (or in the greek "heart") and heart (gk: bowels). It is interesting. She makes a strong case that the two are not independent of each other. So far it's an interesting book.