Why does God love? Why does God love me? What does it mean to be loved of God? To be favored by Him?
If God loves me, then why this that and the other things in my life that aren’t pleasant, aren’t “good,” are hard?
No matter how much I know of this philosophy or that theology, I have always connected God’s love with external, circumstantial experience. That being the case, if God really does love me then why aren’t my circumstances “better,” different, less difficult?
Don’t even try to come back at me with the patent “church” answers that are eventually meaningless and empty – God loves you enough that he gives you difficulties, the difficulties are a result of sin, the suffering is part of what it means to be human, and on, and on, and on. Let’s face it. It just isn’t doing it for me, or for you if we are honest.
Eventually, that leads me to outside of myself. Not just my difficulties, but if God is loving us then why are people starving to death in the world, why are some families barely holding together no matter how much they try, why all the tragedy?
All these questions come down to a basic assumption that if God is love, if God loves me then there should be evidence of it in my day-to-day life, that I should experience blessings more and more. And why not believe this? Throughout Torah, Talmud, all of it, God seems to say something just like that: “If you believe me, if you trust me, if you obey me and live a certain way, then you will experience blessing, then you will be prosperous, then you will have many cattle, sons, this, that, and the other.” But, alas, this isn’t my experience.
Granted, there is a whole industry that has been created by this kind of thinking. Some of it labeled with the name “Christian;” Some of it a watered down, less “religious” versions of the same mentality, some start with the name “Tony,” if you get my drift. Some of the worst written literature in the world has made a fortune off this way of thinking. So, of course we believe, of course I submit to a mentality that believes God’s love is proportional to what I have, how “good” my life feels, etc.
In other words, no matter how I dress it up, I still connect God’s love with results in my life that reduce suffering, bring more of what I think I need or want. And as far as the next guy, the poor, cancer, the girl dying from AIDS in Rwanda – well, I don’t know how to answer for them. I mean God supposedly loves them just as much, but you wouldn’t know it by their circumstances…. If I let myself still believe that his love is connected to blessings.
What if it has nothing to do with any of this? What if God’s love is something so utterly… eternal… other… 4th, or 5th dimensional? What if his love is something so out of this world that I can’t put it into terms that words would justify?
Here is where I went next.
Why is it that even God himself says that no human can see his face and live? (Thus, Moses only gets to see his “backside.”)
What is it about God’s face that would cause me to die?
The easiest place to go, and one that is unfortunately so shallow nowadays, is that the reason has to do with “holiness.” He is SO holy, and we are not, that to see his face… well, I don’t even want to talk about it. Right? Or maybe not?
What if the reason one can’t see God’s face is because of the love?
What if to look upon love in it’s 100% purest form is so utterly dumbfounding that to do so would unravel us? That it “undoes” us at such a core level that it doesn’t just blow our circuits… they vanish?
I propose this as an explanation because the one conversation that I comeback to with God revolves around how much I deflect, distract, lessen, his love. When he starts telling me what he sees in me, how he loves me, if I even hear it for a second, I quickly change the subject. I would think I wouldn’t have to tell you why, because you know what I am talking about. It stirs that part of me that says, “nope, can’t be true. No way is what you are saying REAL.” And so I dig up evidence like circumstances, if not shameful practices or ways of thinking or “sins” to prove to him that he is wrong, that his love is misplaced.
It’s not that God’s love reveals my faults and failures. It’s that my faults and failures are used to dismiss his love.
Something that is so utterly incomprehensible, impossible to put into words and thus of another dimension.
It doesn’t answer the questions about suffering, the poor, the AIDS girls, the abuses, the war or why bad things seem to happen to good people. The deflection and dismissal maneuvers might explain why we live such small lives, start wars, etc.
Maybe it was nothing more than this that caused the nation of Israel to constantly ask for more and more distance, more and more watered down means of God’s Presence. From a pillar of fire/cloud to an ark to a temple to a “judge” to a king (like everybody else had) and less, and less.
And then there is Jesus. God gets so close to us by becoming one of us that we finally had enough and so killed him. Yet, that didn’t stop him.
It must be that we run from God because we can’t handle eternal love…to come face to face with Him we will surely die.
Yet, I am here…
asking Him this
I invite His gaze…