Loved and pursued

The Doctor's Life Support for 24 March

Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4: 7

Usually, I have a waking thought. ‘Oh dear, I must finish that piece of work, left over from yesterday.’ Or ‘Last night’s psychiatric patient from New York, was it possible to phone her parents?’ And so on. Sometimes my waking thoughts are about God. Frequently, I remember that he really loves me, wonderfully and truly beyond the imagination. Yet the thought is not always comfortable. Some years ago I wrote from Thailand to a diabetic friend, still in the prime of life but whose eyesight was failing, reassuring him of God’s love. His reply surprised me. ‘Sometimes I wish that God would not love me so much and that he would just leave me alone for a while.’ At that stage I had not experienced close bereavement or suffering and his reply left me at a loss. God’s love may be uncomfortable? First, because in his love God pursues us, each day coming closer. His interventions may conflict with our wish to be in firm control of our own lives. His goodness and holiness may feel smothering but, irritatingly, he will neither force us to get closer to him nor will he tamper with our free will. The choice is always ours, increasing feelings of guilt as we recognise our disobedience. Second, God promises to be with us always, taking us through the difficult times of suffering and of pain; a promise that is uncomfortable because we would rather be excused such times! So we try to escape from God, which is impossible. We need to listen to God in silence, re-opening our lives to the adventure of travelling with him, holding on tightly when the going is rough. And we need to listen to and truly love each other. This is his will, and proof that we are his children.

Written by John Townsend from the UK

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