That question stuck with me for a long time. How much was Christ's agony, crucifixion, and death "worth" if, because of His omniscience, He knew things would end up fine in the end?
One day, by God's grace my eyes were opened and I saw the twisted nature of that question. Because the answer is, it doesn't matter that He knew anyway -- the bottom line is, He didn't have to do it.
As many faithful believers before us have testified, a man will never in his own short lifetime understand the crazy depths of God's love for His people.
BUT we CAN start to taste some of its flavours, and find joy & security in His love.
From what I have observed, especially in Asian churches, the concept of "having quiet time" or "doing devotions" with God every day can become a job responsibility. The way everyone talks about it gives the impression that if you do it regularly, you are a good Christian; if not, you feel the burden of guilt and shame. Have you experienced this? I have struggled a lot in this area.
But when set against the background of God's love for me, how wrong that attitude is! My spending time in prayer and the Word should spring effortlessly out of a deep desire to just be with my Father. My view of God is the true measure of my responsive love for Him, not the regularity or length of my QTs.
I think that is why this book started with a reflection on the majesty of God, and why we sometimes need to carve out time for mini-retreats (by ourselves, in our room or in the woods or somewhere quiet) .... too often, we get dulled and forget the intensity of who the Lord is, and how much He wants us to walk closely with Him. We always need to get pulled back and start again with who God is, and then who He wants us to be in light of that.
Do you believe that the Good News is not merely the forgiveness of your sins, the guarantee that you won't go to hell, or the promise of life in heaven?
Do you love this God who is everything, or do you just love everything He gives you?
Questions for reflection & discussion (modified from the CL study guide) --
- How is your relationship with your earthly father? In it, do you see any overlap with the way you relate to God?
- Pick one word to describe your relationship with your heavenly Father. Does your “one word” reflect a reality you’re pleased with or one you’re disappointed in? If you’re pleased, then great. But if not, what one word would describe the way you’d like it to be?
- Consider using that one word as a prayer for a while, repeating it throughout the day when God’s Spirit prompts you. It could be a significant first step to praying without ceasing.