There should be places you can go when the world is too much. Places that welcome you without questions and with endless compassion. Where you can be safe and secure. Where the only problems are remembering to set your alarm so that you can greet the glorious sunrise and deciding what fruit to pick from the laden trees. And as you sit under a spreading oak tree in an easy chair, you look across the rolling land to the golden fields and feel your battered spirit release its burdens. You sigh, and your eyes well with joyful tears.
That's what heaven is supposed to be. That's what God is.
Not that we allow that. We humans make it so hard. God has to be vengeful, shallow, tiny, bigoted, judgmental, self-righteous, furious, the heavy-handed father whose children cringe at His approach. Because we've created so many gods in the past, we think God should conform. He should support who we vote for, and He should shower forgiveness only on those we find worthy. We preach of His miracles, but in the same breath, we deny His grace and power. He's infinite, and we resent it and attempt to force Him into a box that we can control and understand.
Of course, God is beyond that. Despite our best efforts, He reaches beyond our efforts to silence Him, He keeps sending His message to the world, He denies our best attempts to make Him into an easy god. He keeps reaching out to us.
He says, "Come home. I have a place for you. For all of you. There is a feast prepared. There is music and peace and calm. There is joy and dancing and eternal joy."
And we won't listen. We hold onto terrible things that hurt us, we deny the common sense of letting Him lead us, we would rather die in hate than live in everlasting love. How our wilful ignorance must grieve Him. We must break His heart day after day. I don't know why He still loves us. I don't know why He still wants us. But then I'm not God.
I'm just a person, like you, like all of us, attempting to understand the infinite mercy extended to me, attempting to live day-by-day, trying to get up each time I fall, trying to believe while living in world that seems determined to destroy all grace and beauty. Sometimes I lose hope. Sometimes I despair. Sometimes I give up.
But then He sends me help. He reminds me that He hasn't moved. He reminds me that He loves me. He loves me.
This evening when I'm so tired of my problems, exhausted from money troubles, worn beyond my capacity to continue to face the unnamed terror of my future, when I finally turn to Him -- doing in the last place what I should have done in the first place -- He gathers me up and lets me rest in His haven.
I am so grateful.
I have no words.
Nothing but praise for His never-ending love.
His never-ending love for you and me.