“These are the times that try men’s souls.” (Thomas Paine)
I heard an aged preacher say, “When you get to the end of your rope, you dare not let go.” Painful as it undoubtedly is, it is a gift from God to be allowed to come to the end of myself. Stripped bare, raw, exposed as entirely inadequate—in unrehearsed moments of excruciating enlightenment we learn anew Jesus Christ alone is sufficient. More than that, He is the desired beginning and end of all things, and the joyful substance of everything in between. Grasping “God is love” ignites a spiritual chain reaction of loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. How could a pauper express anything less to his redeemer King? The Lord is teaching me much these days, and the absolute joyful necessity of abiding in Him is front and center of what I’m both learning and being reminded of.
“The final secret, I think, is this: that the words ‘You shall love the Lord your God’ become in the end less a command than a promise. And the promise is that, yes, on the weary feet of faith and the fragile wings of hope, we will come to love him at last as from the first he has loved us—loved us even in the wilderness, especially in the wilderness, because he has been in the wilderness with us. He has been in the wilderness for us. He has been acquainted with our grief.” (Frederick Buechner, A Room Called Remember)