Sometimes we are sure that God is Love and Love is at the heart of all things. Sometimes we are sure that the very spirit of God resides in each human being, that we are made in God’s image, that there is a divine seed in each of us. Then some Iraq, Charleston, Baton Rouge, or Dallas comes along, or some grim fact of life (you name your’s) comes knocking at our door, and our faith wilts and withers like a wild flower cut from its roots. Clouds blanket our bewildered and frightened minds and we can’t think, or feel, or see any love anywhere. We become immersed in life’s perplexities and in our frustration we scapegoat this “Love at the heart of all things” as the culprit for this broken, messed up world. If there is a God, if Love is there, how can this stuff happen in our world and in our lives?
In our hurt, sadness, and utter frustration we rail against these ills of life, and against God’s apparent mismanagement of things. We sometimes even suggest that all this silliness about Love should be abandoned as a wasteful quest and that God (if there is one) should step aside. After all, we say, we can make “America Great Again.” We know what needs to be done. We have the answers to solve every perplexity. We can do it on our own and in a more efficient way than spending our time waiting around for Love to love.
Such an attitude prompts the question: “Haven’t we done it our way for ages?” We speak of ourselves, erroneously, as a Christian nation, a Christian people. We stamp on our coins, “In God We Trust,” but we really don’t trust God, we trust and seek the coin. I would suggest that Chesterton’s words ring true in this land and in all others: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
|"When you pass through deep waters,|
I am with you..." (Isa 43:2ff, NEB)
Love does not coerce. Love does not bully. Love does not control. Love loves irrespective of merit. If God is the Love at the heart of all things, and Love is God, then we have painted an erroneous image of God as One who steps in to remove evil, who takes away hurt and suffering, who forces us to become what God wills us to be. That’s dictatorship, that’s domination, that takes away our freedom—and I just don’t believe that is Love.
Love does not abandon us or remain aloof in our anguish and perplexities. Love sits with us and feels what we feel. Love wraps us in an embrace and holds us and weeps and hurts with us. Love shares everything with us and calls us to love like that too!