A line from Andrew Murray's "With Christ in the School of Prayer" has opened up a whole new way of thinking for me -- a major paradigm shift. Actually, the entire book is changing my view of God's love. But this particular section goes like this, "His love lies underneath everything. We must grasp it as the solid foundation of our religious life, not growing up into that love, but growing up out of it."
I started pondering this. I realized that I grew up with this transaction view of love in general and God's love in particular. Like love is a commodity -- you do certain things like treat people with love, be nice and kind, etc., and they pay you with their love. (I know, it sounds terrible. But think about it. Isn't that how things tend to operate much of the time??) And with God, I give Him my love, obedience, trust, surrender (all out of gratitude for salvation) and He gives me love, takes care of my needs, protects me, etc.
Okay, so that's one picture. Here's another way I've viewed God's love for me -- it's like the rain. It comes down -- sometimes frequently, sometimes sparingly -- but it comes to me in pieces. Sometimes it's like a torrent and other times just barely sprinkling. But it comes to me from up there somewhere, outside of me.
Well, Andrew Murray's little line has given me a completely different picture -- one that I believe is more accurate. God's love for me is like the earth, soil, dirt. He has planted me in His love and I am growing up out of it. You know what this means? This means I'm always in it. I'm planted there. I'm not moving. It's not moving. It's just there. And I can sink down deep into it and blossom like a flower.
And to go even further with this (taking from Psalm 1 and John 4) it's like He has planted me in the ground of God's love, watered by the hidden river of His life. That means that even if I'm in a desert relationally with people, even if no one is loving me, I am okay. More than okay. I'm thriving! Blossoming. Growing fruit.
This is such good news I just can't get over it. I can't fully grasp how this is going to change things, but already I am sensing a deep security that I didn't have before. I'm going to have to ponder this some more. . .
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all God's people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19.