A few years ago I had an important revelation while attending a leader care meeting with a group of pastors in Dehra Dun. On and off over the years I had experienced God’s love in personal ways that had touched me deeply. Yet, here I was feeling empty inside – not all the time – but more frequently than it seemed like I should.
While I was sitting outside my room beside a beautiful river flowing down from the mountains I found myself reflecting on what seemed like an ongoing cycle in my life. An encounter with God’s love, followed by a season of joy and intimacy with God. Then a season of challenging life and ministry, followed by a gradual decent into feeling distant from God and stuggling in life and ministry. Finally at some point in the midst of my own desperation, God would graciously reveal his love to me.
After a few times of this you would think that I would learn, but the cycle seemed to just keep going. I was growing. My personal relationship with God seemed to be more consistant. And I wasn’t decending quite as deeply into discouragement or dispair. It wasn’t taking me quite as long to realize what was wrong, but still, I seemed to be stuck in this cycle.
Our assignment that morning was to spend time doing what’s called lectio divina. It’s a historic form of meditating on the scriptures in order to hear what God has to say to you. The passage that day was from Psalm 36:7-9
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
As I meditated on the words, I was suddenly aware of the emphasis that David was placing on the abundance of God’s love. I sensed Jesus inviting me to “feast” on the abundance of his love for me.
God didn’t intend for me to just have occational experiences of his love! He was inviting me to drink from a “river of delights” that flowed from his heart. His desire was that his love for me would became a “fountain of life” welling up in me. I sat there for a long time enjoying the river and imagining God’s love continually flowing into my life.
Since that time my goal has been to not only experience God’s love, but to have an ongoing, regular experince of God’s love flowing into my life. To soak in his love so that it would begin to shape the identity of who I am. I want to think of myself as one of “His beloved” just as the Apostle John thought of himself. I still feel like I have a long ways to go, but I have a better idea of how to get there now.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING THESE DAYS TO SOAK IN GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU?
It was strange to read your words because my struggles have been the same, but especially hard being without Paul and living by myself this time of year. Your words were encouraging.
Beautiful thought for this Season! Thanks Rick! God bless…
Sent from my iPhone
Great writing, Rick. Please do keep it up.