Something happened to me today that changed everything. Something I sort of knew shook loose from my head and slipped down through and got lodged deep inside my heart.
That something was this. Every single dream, every wish, each random longing, each fleeting fantasy, every daydream, each sadness, every hope, and the sum total of all the angst I feel, have felt, or will ever feel is no more than a simple expression of a singular truth. My heart was meant to love God.
Desire justly recognized, understood, and set free turns like a heat-seeking missile toward God. And in the turning it is transformed until sorrow and joy are stirred and churned and dissolved into a solution of hope and satisfaction and the heart pulls closer.
Trust me on this. Set your pain free. We know deep down that things are not what things were meant to be. We grasp for love because God longs to draw us to Him. We seek solace in food or drink or sex because God means to comfort us with divine compassion. We hunger to be seen, sought after, or respected because God stamped His image on our souls and waits patiently to unveil His glory in us.
I saw God today. I walked with Him. And for a moment it all made sense.
The most helpful thing I’ve read lately is a four word quote from John Eldredge in Walking With God. He said “don’t waste your pain”.
We all have our share of pain eventually. It comes out of nowhere to slap us in the face when we least expect it. It looks from the outside like some people get a free pass from pain, but looks are deceiving. You need to know that this burden we all bear is so, so, so, so, so NOT God’s desire. He has always wanted better for us.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, the most expensive thing in the universe is Love. Love costs us and costs God dearly. God pays an immeasurable price every day to buy us the right to Love. Every day we have the right to choose and that choice opens the door to unspeakable consequences. Our right to choose, our freedom to Love means that a father has the choice to rape his young daughter. It means a drunk has the choice to sit behind the wheel. It means a terrorist has the choice to detonate a bomb.
Pain wasn’t meant to be wasted. It was meant to be redeemed with the very purchase it was spent on. Because Love, too is a choice. Spend Love generously, lavishly, wastefully on yourself, on your fellow humans, and on God. Don’t waste your pain.
C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain wrote:
We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the ‘intolerable compliment’. Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be 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 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 recommenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumbnail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed us for a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less. How this gem of truth has resonated with me, bringing peace and healing deep within. To give God my blessing to do His good work in me according to His glorious design. To be whole and wholly His. To experience His tender and passionate love — His pains-taking labor on the canvas of my soul. Thank you Father!
Have you ever seen the ‘Antiques Roadshow’? People wait in line for hours with their old musty trinkets to ask an expert in a big auditorium how much their stuff is worth. Then an old guy with glasses comes on and says something like, ‘at auction this item could bring anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 dollars.’ It often leaves me wondering how close the guy’s estimate really was. It’s not like we can go back and complain like we can with the weather report. Hearing his guess is not very satisfying. I’ve gotta know, how much is old Aunt Sally’s broach really worth? The answer is (as I’ve heard many times) it’s worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.
How much is love worth? Love must be given freely or it is not love. Love under compulsion is repackaged fear. In order for true love to exist, we must be free. And our freedom comes at a terrible cost. Because if we are free to love we are also free to hate and from that hate flows every evil act that has been committed from the beginning of time. In allowing evil to coexist with his beloved children God pays a terrible price for love. That staggering price testifies to the truth that love is the most important, valuable, worthy, and precious commodity that exists in the universe.
We all pay for love everyday. Every scar, every bruise, every dashed hope you’ve ever had is a payment you’ve made to allow love to exist in the world. The price has been paid and the gift has been purchased and that gift has been placed in your hands to do with as you will. What will you do with the gift of love? Will you love for what it’s worth?