Turn Your World Upside Down-Read More!
"We cannot see the end God has in mind. If we could, we would likely see that the hardships God allows prevent even more debilitating hardships—the by-products of the diminished character that results from a life of ease."
Our problem is not that we make too much of divine love, but too little. God does not love us on our preferred terms, but on His own. His infinite wisdom ensures us that He gives to us a higher love, not a lower one. C. S. Lewis writes in The Problem of Pain,
"We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves,” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all.”...I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines. But since it is abundantly clear that I don’t, and since I have reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is Love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction.”From Randy Alcorn's blog, Feb. 14
Just yesterday our pastor used this text for his sermon, challenging us to not lose our love for God, the Father:
"You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." Revelation 2:4b-5 (NIV)
We can get caught up with being busy doing the work, even seeing good results, but if we have lost our every-day-in-his-presence-love, we are losing out and according to this verse there are huge consequences.
He ended the talk with a suggestion that we spend more time in his presence this week than we did last week.
Then this morning I opened my daily encouragement email from Biblegateway and the devotional text was this exact same verse. Hmmm...I think I better pay attention. The author Amy Carroll had found that without her love for God continuing to grow, she becomes self-righteous and judgmental.
"To maintain the right heart, God asks us to keep returning to our first love with Him. To rediscover the newness, lightness and joy we felt at first. He urges us to constantly rekindle passion for Him, which will deepen our love for Him and others."
Keep drawing me, Father. On my own, I will turn to other pleasures to satisfy my longings. I want to grow in your love so I can love others with your heart. I need you!
This intimacy we seek, is described in this way from Watchman Nee's book, Twelve Baskets Full.
"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he come."
I Cor. 11:26. Our Lord's object in instituting the Supper was to encourage all His redeemed ones to remember His death continually. He knew the snares and the temptations that would beset our path: and He knew how readily the Cross would lose its freshness in our lives, so He made this special provision to bring it freshly to our memories. When first we came to the Lord and the reality of His death broke upon us, how fresh it was! But we gradually became careless in our Christian life and consequently the vision dimmed; and we grew accustomed to hearing about the Cross, so that sheer familiarity caused it to lose its impact on our hearts and minds. The realization of its eternal newness will bring a new incentive into our lives that will turn defeat into triumph. Yes, and what revelation it will bring, and what inspiration, and what intimacy of fellowship with the Lord!"
And of course, nothing can bring us running to our Father for refuge and comfort like a good ole dose of humiliation, selfish behavior or relationship breeches. We are then, undone. Our need is raw; it's unbearable. Like our worship leader prayed yesterday after singing a song about being undone and how that can lead us to His love,-- "unravel us" until all that is seen is Jesus in us. Undone, unraveled aren't pretty images to contemplate. But can we dare pray for this, in order to experience the better life in Him?