The Full Cost of Real Love is No Charge. A consideration that God is crazy to love us.

When I think about the way God loves us I am often amazed, and the worldly part of me thinks God must be crazy to love me. We can all be so ungrateful and undeserving of God’s love and providence, but He still offers it.

Some of the parables speak of the “crazy” side of God’s love, There is the parable of the woman who lost a small coin and, after finding it, she  threw a party that cost many times the value of the coin she found (Luke 15:8-10).  Crazy huh? Well Jesus is teaching about God’s Kingdom love for us, it is extravagant, beyond all reasonable bounds.

Then there’s the parable of the Man with two sons (Luke 15:11-32). One of his sons tells him to drop dead and wants his inheritance now. He gives it to him! Crazy! Off the son goes and messes up big time. He sinks so low he starts to admire how well pigs eat. Upon his return to the father he had told to drop dead, he expects wrath, but he gets embraced and the Father throws a party. Crazy huh?

But the story does not end there. The second son, offended at the party, now cops an attitude and insults his father by refusing to enter the party! Instead of sending servants out to force him in, the father himself goes out and pleads with his son who continues to dishonor him with bitter rebukes as to his leadership! What a crazy Father! He seems to love his son anyway. What father in the ancient world would ever plead with his son, it just wasn’t done. But Jesus is teaching again of his Father’s “crazy” love for us.

And Jesus is crazy too. He actually chooses to die for us, not because we are good, but because we are bad. We, having run his wrists and feet through with railroad spikes hear his prayers of mercy for us. And who would have excused him if, after dying, he just went right back to heaven and said, “Father, I’ve had it with them I’m coming home!” But instead he rose and said “Peace be with you” to men who had abandoned him.

Crazy. Just crazy.

It is clear that God loves us in a crazy sort of way. But thank the Lord his craziness is to our advantage.

Disclaimer: To the pious who may take offense at me calling God “crazy” let me remind that I am here echoing an astonishment from a worldly point of view and not asserting that God is actually crazy or unreasonable. You might say I am taking up the voice of the world for the sake of illustration.

Ah” but you might say, “what about the souls in Hell?!” I say to you he loves them still! They do not want to live in the Kingdom with him and he respects their freedom in that regard. But have you noticed, he doesn’t wipe them out or annihilate them? They still exist, in an unpleasant place, but a place of their choice. Surely God regrets their choice, but, respecting their freedom, God still sustains and provides for them. Even Satan is not killed by God. Crazy!

So face it, God loves you. He even likes you! Not because you deserve it, you don’t. Neither do I. God loves you and me “for no good reason.” He loves because He is love and that’s what love does. To think that we could lose God’s love is actually a sign of pride since we think that somehow we have the power to make God stop being what he is, Love. I know full well that God does not love my sin but I do not doubt that he loves me…for no good reason, for no explainable reason other than he is Love and that’s what love does, it loves.

Now I hope You’ll find this video as much of a blessing as I do. I suppose that the closest example of unconditional love we have on this planet is a mother’s love for her children. Behold and be blessed: Shirley Caesar’s “No Charge.”

When God seems distant….

Most of us experience from time to time that God seems distant. Here we do not consider the distance that may come from mortal sin, but simply that distance of which the psalmist says, Why do you hide your face O Lord? (e.g. Ps 44:24, inter al).

Recently I came across a dialogue from an unknown source wherein a monk speaks to a saintly and wise abbot about his struggle to experience God, about the fact that God seems distant:

Speaking to the Master, the Monk said, “So what does one do about the distance?”

“Understand that it isn’t there.” Said the Master.

“Does that mean that God and I are one?” Asked the puzzled Monk.

“Not one. Not two.” Said Father Abbot.

“How is that possible?” Replied the disciple.

And looking at him, the master replied:

“The sun and its light,
the ocean and the wave,
the singer and his song –
–not one….Not two.”

One of the great balances to find in theology is the balance between the transcendence of God and the immanence of God. For God is utterly above and beyond what he has created and this is His transcendence. And yet, at the same time He is profoundly, immediately and intimately present to all he has made. He is not just the author and foundation of all things, he is being itself, and nothing has being apart from him. And this we call his immanence.

And thus, when we speak of God being “distant” we can speak only in a metaphorical or psychological sense. But the fact is, God is NOT distant. He is more present to us than we are to ourselves. And thus, distance is a human problem, not a divine one.

True spirituality and true healing come from being increasingly in touch with reality. And the reality is that the distance we experience isn’t really there. The reality is that God is profoundly, absolutely, and powerfully present to all that has being. And if He ever were to become “distant,” that from which he became distant, would cease to be at all. God is being itself, and to have being is ipso facto to be profoundly present to God.

So when God “seems distant” realize that the distance isn’t really there. Stay in touch with reality and remember that every fiber of your being is present to God, held and sustained by Him and that your being is caught up in Him who is being itself.

Scripture says of Jesus He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col 1:17).

St Augustine also says, You (O Lord) were with me, but I was not with You. [Created] things kept me far from You, which, unless they were in You, were not. You called, and cried aloud, and forced open my deafness. You gleam and shine, and chase away my blindness. You exhaled fragrance, and I drew in my breath and do long after You. I tasted, and do hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for Your peace. (Confessions, 10.27)

The distance isn’t there.