Melanie, over at Joy Of Nine9 has blessed me yet again, this time with Litany of the Love of God. It is so beautiful! As I read, I found myself praying, in agreement with the words, and as I did, some of the words pierced through places in my spirit that I had been protecting from painful memories and past injuries.
It is challenging to say with complete honesty, that I allow my love to return to Him:
- with all my heart (above the place that my husband, children, and grandchildren hold there);
- with all my soul (that part of me that makes me who I am…including the masks I wear, the fortresses I’ve built around it for protection from pain, and the parts of it that have been robbed by fear, doubt, and unbelief);
- with all my mind (above my own understanding and expectations of who God is, how He works, what He desires);
- with all my strength (because I know the reserves I keep for the times when I don’t rely on His strength to do what He asks me to, or to do what I choose to do instead of what He’s asked me to do…I know well the areas of my being that are not surrendered to Him, and that I hold back).
Do I really mean it, when I tell Him, “Lord, I love you back, not for what you lavish me with, but just for who You are…”
- above all possessions and honors,
- above all pleasures and enjoyments
- More than myself and all that belongs to me,
- More than all my relatives and friends,
- More than all men and angels,
- Above all created things in heaven or on earth,
Oh! I want to…but I know I fall short! I am guilty of placing things above that love for Him. How easily they get in the way, because I do love my things…my family…my friends…even myself and my accomplishments. How sobering a reminder to keep all His riches that He shares with us in their proper perspective. Of course, it’s right and expected for me to be thankful for all these blessings that He gives, with the knowledge that they are from His hand, and they are to given to me for His glory, not my own.
- In wealth and in poverty,
- In prosperity and in adversity,
- In health and sickness,
- In life and death,
- In time and eternity (in what I know of in my now, and forever after)
I used to think it was easier to trust God and to love Him in the good times than it was in the hard times. This notion has been tested and found to be untrue over the past ten years. We’ve gone from employment and home ownership, to unemployment and homelessness (and back again); from having supportive family around us, to suffering fractured, painful dynamics; we’ve lost aged parents and welcomed grandbabies; and I can honestly say, through all of it, my love for God was strengthened in the days that I cried out for and received His comfort and consolations. It was not easier to love God in the easy times, in fact, when times were easy, so was the ability to forget Him, and become complacent.
There is a hidden wisdom in the Lord’s prayer, when we ask for our daily bread. I realized a rich dimension of thankfulness and awe in watching and waiting for daily provision, that was not present in our years of plenty, when I was buying groceries to stock a pantry for the month. It’s not that I didn’t know where my help came from, but I was not reminded of it every day, and our blessing over the meal did not inspire awe then as it did when we did not know where our next meal would come from and were provided for on a daily basis.
I love the end of this litany…where I can unite the love I am returning to God with the love of all the saints and angels, even with the love of His own mother, and with His own infinite love. Just in case mine falls short (and it does), it still returns to Him complete, because of the unity of His body. What a beautiful picture of an answer to His prayer for us, that we be one, as He and the Father are one.