That saturating-your-pores, leaking-out-your-arteries- kind of love. A love that satiates and satisfies and fills you to a state of perfect soul wholeness; a state of sweet calm… of deep, long peace.
I do not mean the kind of love that ignited cheeks a fiery awkwardness when he caught your eye. Nor the kind that makes you rock a babe through thickening night while the clock marches loudly towards the dawn. Not even the kind that wraps around your flesh and bone in a band of gold, a covenant circle without beginning, end.
I’m speaking of the love you keep looking for.
You know, the love that you surprise yourself thinking about on long walks in the rain, that you didn’t even think you still needed. The kind of love you mean when you say you just want to go home. And you’re already at the address where the mail finds you.
Isn’t that what we keep questing, craving, driving ever onward, that hope of falling into? The wild hope that we’ll be loved with a smitten, captivated, passionate, fervent, get-under-your-skin-intimate, unrelenting, always pursuing, never ebbing, entirely encompassing, throbbing through your being kind of love?
An unearthly kind of love.
The kind of love we must be meant for because in the unspoken, unexplored dark hinterlands of ourselves, we never give up the dream.
I think it’s that kind of love we are hungering for when we live lives “of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (Phil. 2:3). I wonder, if we peel it back, if we never, really, have selfish ambition for shinier things, never desire, under it all, noted adulation. Aren’t our ambitions, when they stand naked, simply a vulnerable craving for love?
Paul exhorts the searching ones to humility, to “consider others better than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).
When you look around, that doesn’t seem common. It’s rare to see that kind of consideration: that others are regarded better, esteemed higher. Isn’t that only possible, to consider others better, when you securely know love? No, not merely know love. But feel it. In your marrow. In your every cell. In the firing of your every neuron.
It’s a love you know not from mere mental understanding or assent, but a love you experience. A love that is under your skin, entangled in your sinews.
Susanna Wesley knew a love that satiates and fills the empty crevices in a soul is a love that isn’t merely spoken of with lips or understood cerebrally, but the kind of love you know experientially, a kind of love that moves your heart:
“O Lord, I understand now that to know you only as a philosopher…and to discourse with the greatest elegancy and propriety of words of your existence or operations, will avail us nothing unless at the same time we know you experimentally, unless the heart perceives and knows you to be her supreme good, her only happiness.”
Unless the heart brushes up against, touches, that kind of love, knows God intimately to be her only happiness, we still ache. We still strive and writhe and selfishly, desperately, grasp.
When you feel love swelling your lungs and coursing in your blood and soaking into your skin, when your heart perceives Love’s touch, you aren’t lashed unflaggingly by selfish ambitions. You’ve already arrived; you’ve found that for which you’ve yearned: arms that enfold you, all of you.
You rest. Just lay back into those everlasting arms. Simply, sweetly abide.
How do you know, on the underside of your epidermis, the love of God experientially?
You close your eyes and press your fingertips into the grainy crevices of the Cross, taste the saltiness of the blood that veins down those valleys.
You feel the sun splash your face every morning with cosmic warmth, beckoned forth by His Word, and listen to rain fall through the pines, oceanic waters congregated overhead in vaporous veils and pattering down softly in still grey twilight.
You bite into corn on the cob, hot butter dripping, and revel in the miracle of savoring sunlight. You feel wind in your hair and listen to the cry of the hawk swooping from tip of the maple on edge of woods, and watch an ant scale a blade of grass, and watch a baby breathe in sleep, and you wake up to God and you be.
For that is what He loves about you. Just that you are.
Just that you are and you see how He drenches your life with your supreme good. You listen to His serenade throughout all the earth. You let Him woo you through your hours, He who waves the whole earth like a flag, trying to capture your attention. Your heart.
“The approach of God to the soul… is not to be thought of in spatial terms at all,” writes A.W. Tozer. “There is no idea of physical distance involved in the concept. It is not a matter of miles but of experience.”
We begin to rouse to Lover close when we experience His passionate good for us in each of our moments. When we live attentively, listening to the Voice that choreographs all that we see, sensitive to His movements in our daily lives, in even small things, we realize that the simple pleasures of our days are in fact tender overtures of God approaching.
When we become aware of all that is gift, grace, in our lives, we feel the warmth of very God touching us, there upon on our skin; we experience Love.
When we feel the ambitions strangling tight, the grasp for more flail about, it’s time to open the eyes of the heart and see how you’re loved.
Is it the kind of divine love that Marguerite Porete (1200s) experienced, “…she melts into the embrace of union from which she receives all love’s delights. She’s convinced there can be nothing higher than the life she now enjoys.”
Why have selfish ambitions for more when there is nothing higher than intimately feeling the love of God? She writes, “Love has given her such pleasure that she cannot believe God has anything higher to offer the soul than this love which Love has spread throughout her being…It is indeed a wonderful thing for the soul to be taken up to these dizzy heights of love.”
Taken up to the heights of love, daily and ordinary and everywhere, we rest.
For is there really anything higher than His kind of love?
I wake to His love.
Overatures this past week, from the wooing God, the endless gifts….
boy and dog and a long summer day
memories rusting as the corn grows
a place for a face in day’s last light
old paint, old lines, chipping chair
a girl, her daddy, and a tractor ride in wheat harvest
painted hen warming eggs
aged chair at front door, wisps of what once was
I wake to His Love.
May we invite you to join the Gratitude Community?
Have you considered establishing gratitude as a personal soul fixture? Just grab a scrap of paper lying around and begin counting the blessings, with your own
1000 Endless Gifts:
Why begin your own One Thousand Gift List –(drop me a line if you do, and I’ll add either your name or a web link to the Gratitude Community
— it’s a privilege to join you in giving Him all worship, all praise, all thanks…)
~~Photos: my brother’s roses, morning strawberry whispering His heart, and snapshots of this past week’s serenade…