I’ve been trying to rediscover, refresh, redo? my time with God. I say time because that seems to be the most telling indicator for where God and I are. Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, I don’t go straight to scripture in these seasons. I visit with the spiritually wise. Those that have had the biggest impact on my own journey.
I’ve talked about Brennan Manning a lot on this blog and it’s because there is no one else that has had as big of an impact on my faith as he has. This is one of my favorite passages from his book, Souvenirs of Solitude. It hits me so so hard right now as I am trying to reconnect with who God really is. As I am trying to shake off the old stoic fart that sits on a throne with someone fanning him and lightening bolt in his right hand ready to strike.
This passage helps.
(Bold/Size emphasis me)
And the Lord summons me a second time. In the chastening solitude of the Pennsylvania hills, he extends a second invitation: “I want you to accept My Father’s love.” I answered, “But I know that. It’s old hat. I’ve come up to this deserted place seeking new insight. I’m in a fit of fervor, red-hot, wide open. I’ll listen to anything You have to say. Go ahead, Lord, dazzle me. Lay a new word on me. I know the old one.”
And He answers, “That’s just what you don’t know-the old one. You have no idea how much I love you. The moment you think you understand is the moment that you do not understand. I am God, not man. You travel the world telling others about Me-that I am a loving God. Your words are glib. How readily they roll off your tongue. My words are written in the blood of My only Son. The next time you preach of My life with such obnoxious familiarity, I may come and blow your whole prayer meeting apart. When you come at Me with your pedantic professionalism, I will expose you as a rank amateur. When you try to persuade others that you understand what you are talking about , I will reduce you to silence and hurl you flat on your face! You claim that you know I love you. Then gird your loins like a man. Now I will question you, and you tell me the answers.
“Do you know that every time you tell Me you love me, I say thank you?
“When a fear-filled child comes to you in the darkness of a thunderstorm and asks with tear-streaked face, ‘Are you still here? Will you stay with me until it’s light? Are you disgusted with me because I’m little and afraid? Are you going to give me away?’ and you are grieved and saddened over the child’s lack of trust, do you realize that you do the same to me? Or don’t you believe that I am at least as sensitive a father as you?
“Do you understand the word of My Son: ‘I do nothing by myself. I do only what I see my Father doing’ (John 8:28)? Who do you think first wept over Jerusalem when they refused to receive My own Son?
“Do you claim to know what We shared when Jesus withdrew to a mountaintop and spent the night with Me alone? Do you know whence came the inspiration to wash the feet of the Twelve? Or is that below My dignity, distant Oriental magistrate that I am? Do you understand that motivated by love alone your God became your slave in the Upper Room? Remember, ‘I do only what I see my Father doing.’
“Have you grappled with the core question of your faith which is not ‘Is Jesus God-like?’ but ‘Is God Jesus-like?’ Do you comprehend that all attitudes, values, qualities and characteristics of My Son are Mine; that he who sees Jesus sees Me, His Father?
“Were you grieved by the divine command to Abraham that he slay his only begotten son Isaac on Mount Moriah? Were you relieved when the angel intervened, Abraham’s hand was stayed, and the sacrifice was not carried out? Have you forgotten that on Good Friday no angel intervened, that sacrifice was carried out, and it was not the heart of Abraham that was broken?
“When you’re friend loses a child temporarily in death, do you go to the funeral home and grieve with him and try to comfort him? When was the last time you grieved with Me and tried to comfort Me on Good Friday? Do you know that My heart was broken on that dark day? That I am your Father, that I feel as much as you?
“Are you aware that I had to raise Jesus from the dead on Easter morning because My love is everlasting? That I could not bear the thought of eternity without the presence of My only begotten? Are you serenely confident that I will raise you too, My adopted son?
“But of course, you are aware of all these things. Was it not you who just told Me that it is all old hat, that you know that I love you?”