The trees look forlorn under the weight of a September snowfall, an early reminder of the chills to come. My mind drifts to any number of friends that might be waking up today feeling like those branches. The grief for a lost love one, the concern for a troubled relative, the hoping against hope for recovery from cancer, are the burdens they carry. Prayers are always welcome, but in the end it is love that remains.
“God is love”, says St John. This disciple whom Jesus loved has seen his share of visions. The presence of the risen Jesus once left him on the ground like a dead man. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid!” (Rev. 1:17) “Perfect love drives our fear,” adds John from experience. (1 Jn 4:8)
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. “ (1Jn 3:1).
It can get confusing trying to understand the love of God, especially when we suffer. Is the “do not judge” Jesus really the same God as the fire and brimstone one? Or, as Marcion thought, is the angry God of ancient times a more primitive lower Deity? I’m learning to appreciate the mystery of God as much as the answers.
The cure of the soul, as it is in the case of chemo treatment for cancer, may seem worse than the disease, nevertheless the intention of God is for our good, for love seeks the good of the beloved.
God came near in the person of Jesus, as if he could not contain himself any longer. In God becoming human, we see the true character of our unchanging, loving God.
God is “as it were, beguiled by goodness, by love, and by yearning and is enticed away from his transcendent dwelling place and comes to abide in all things.” –Pseudo Dionysius
Some children passed our yard in backpacks and winter coats on their way to school this morning. They pulled the snow-laden branches and released a joyous downfall as great soft clumps of white fell all around them. These troubles that weigh us down are “light momentary afflictions,” that are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Co 4:17)
In the sacred center of our being, the ground of being as it is often called, we encounter the love of God that can carry us through every season of living.