We sing this song like always, the words on the screen… “You won’t relent until You have it all…my heart is Yours.” Funny how we can sing without really listening to what we are saying. And I can hear Him whisper in my spirit, “Do you mean it? Can I have your children? Your health? Your marriage?” A bit frightening to know the truth: God is not nearly as tolerant as we’d like to think He is, and His kind of love is more like an inexorable force of nature, as wild and overwhelming as any tidal wave, and quite determined to have every last bit of our hearts. So much of what we label as life’s stresses and difficulties are really His shaking us loose from life altogether, so that our hearts will be His alone. “For there is a love that is as strong as death, jealousy demanding as the grave…”
Something in us longs for that kind of exclusive intensity in love– the media industry thrives on it–but we feel more comfortable with it in the physical world, where we can experience it with the senses. What if all that is only a shadow of the spiritual world and the total surrender our hearts long for is meant for Someone much bigger?
The author of Hebrews said it this way: “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29) We don’t like to talk about that much, maybe because it sounds contradictory, the thankful worship and the fear of fire… but when the world is shaken loose from its moorings it should come to mind readily: everything here can be shaken loose– must be shaken loose– so that we have our hands and hearts free to grasp the Kingdom that cannot ever be shaken, and God’s holy fire is quite willing to burn it all, in order to leave you with what matters most. He loves you, but He is Wind and Earthquake and Fire and Lion, and we would do well not to forget it. “…and many waters cannot quench this love….” Relentless. Be careful what you sing, because the truth you know in your head must needs be worked out in your heart and your life, if it is going to last forever.
“Come be the fire inside of me, come be the flame upon my heart…until You and I are one.” When you find the pearl of great value, would you not spend everything you have to gain it, as the merchant did in Jesus’ story? To be honest, it terrifies me sometimes, but as Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) It is so worth it.
“Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life—the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child—he will take endless trouble—and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.” (The Problem of Pain, CS Lewis)
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26)