Soften, Open, Let Go

And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…  

 For the past month or so, I’ve been reading Ephesians 3: 14-21 as a prayer for my daughter who is getting married in two weeks. The plan was to support her and actually to keep my mind on what matters instead of all the little things that I am concerned about that don’t matter. And as usually happens, it has turned into a prayer for all of us, her dad, her brother, her soon to be husband, and me.

For several days, the words about knowing God’s love that surpasses knowledge have seemed really important. I’m struggling with knowing how all the things going on in my life right now are going to turn out.

Henri Nouwen’s idea to change the question is worth pondering.

For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life – pray always, work for others, read the scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair.

Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be know by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home. In all three parables which Jesus tells in response to the question of why he eats with sinners, he puts the emphasis on God’s initiative. God is the shepherd who goes looking for his lost sheep. God is the woman who lights a lamp, sweeps out the house, and searches everywhere for her lost coin until she has found it. God is the father who watches and waits for his children, runs out to meet them, embraces them, pleads with them, begs and urges them to come home…

I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible for me to find him, but, instead, as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding. When I look through God’s eyes at my lost self and discover God’s joy at my coming home, then my life may become less anguished and more trusting.         Return of the Prodigal Son (pp. 106-107).

I’m here, in this moment. God is here. I wonder what will happen next.

A way to meet God?

That is what really happens —a moment by moment unfolding of our lives that really isn’t dependent or even remotely related to fretting and striving and knowing.

Letting myself be loved by God in the unknowing.

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