Many times, what we desire most is right before our eyes. Such blindness is revealed time and again from the most successful to the least accomplished. Simply put, people regularly fail to see and appreciate the blessings they’ve already been given.
Yet, there is another blindness far more tragic and wide-spread. Such visual loss is so pervasive that it is commonly accepted as totally normal. I speak of the inability to perceive God’s love. This blindness impacts not only the nonreligious and agnostic but even sincere religious folk. Yet God has not left us without ample witness to his great love.
Historically, at the center of every revival movement (since the early Church) was a renewed vision of God’s love. Scripture also teaches that Christian marriage is a tangible image of God’s love (Isaiah 54:5; Ephesians 5:25). John 3:16 provides the driving motive for Christian salvation—”For God so loved the world . . .” The sun and moon are signs of God’s loving-kindness (Psalm 136:7-9). The metaphors of God throughout Scripture as a loving father, faithful husband, and the Church as the “Bride of Christ” all remind us of the theological significance of love for the Christian life.
Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest American theologians and philosophers, is perhaps unsurpassed in his theological vision of divine love. He maintains that God’s love is the very fabric of the universe. He says that the structure of everything that exists, exists because it is an expression of God’s love. He argues that the restoration of the human ability to recognize God’s love (lost since Eden) lies at the center of God’s plan for human redemption.
Yet, why is it that despite so many tangible reminders and periodic eruptions of God’s love we often struggle to maintain awareness of it in our daily routine? I think sometimes we become so accustomed to such metaphors and so familiar with our beliefs that we take for granted this one truth that used to move us to tears—God loves me . . . even me!
If we are struggling with our faith and in need of a renewed sense of hope, a fresh awakening of God’s love is the very best place to start. This is why stillness is so vital for the Christian. By it, we learn to quiet our hearts to see once again what we’ve forgotten to notice. Love eternal, love divine, always present, rarely observed . . . . May we, instead, be those who are fully observant and daily changed by this great love. Next week, we conclude our series on stillness by discussing how this vision of love can change our lives.
What Do You Think?
Have you ever had a visceral encounter with God’s love? Describe this experience and how it impacted you?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.