A theme in my prayers and laments of late has been about how/why/whether God loves me. I’ve spent years certain I was his favorite punching bag, of little consequence. How could it be that after all I’ve gone through, I should know that I am loved? Why would a deity who supposedly love me treat me this way? And… if I am being called to something greater, why? Is it because I’m a sucker? Because I’ve proven to be good at being used? If this is how god shows love, then we need to talk.
What I have NOT considered – until last night – is that part of the problem is that I don’t love God.
Carl and I have been reading CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity (and yes, there have been many parts at which I’ve been ready to hurl the book across the room with great force – a topic I’ll address at some point). Last night, we read his chapter on Charity, aka Christian love. He wrote…
Some writers use the word charity to describe not only Christian love beween human beings, but also God’s love for man and man’s love for God. About the second of these two, people are often worried. They are told they ought to love God. They cannot find any such feeling in themselves. What are they to do? … Act as if you did. Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, “if I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?” When you have found the answer, go and do it.
I had never considered, for one moment, this idea. I’ve been so busy waiting for God to love me, to show me God loves me, to prove God’s love through signs and hints and bounty and direction…. and it never once crossed my mind that my angry prayers and laments might not be enough. I’ve shown God plenty of frustration, anger, annoyance, even snarkiness. But I don’t know that I’ve shown God any love.
And I don’t know that I love God. I AM angry. I AM frustrated. I DO feel shat upon. I don’t mean to act the victim – that’s not my point. My point is this – I don’t know that I know HOW to act as if I loved God. I don’t have the answer yet.
But I’m willing to work on it.