—Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning and Evening ("The Bands of Love")
It's almost unbelievable how far I'll go to feel wanted, equally unbelievable how far I'll run from the One who truly wants me, and downright astonishing how closely coupled those forces are in my life. So many of the ways I seek to be desired are false to the core and take me far from His love.
Is it that I want a feeling more than I want love?
Is real love, His love, frightening—because it is outside my control, or because, although it is given contraconditionally, it still promises (threatens) to change me, to call, command, and eventually force me to let go of the counterfeits I've grown so fond of?
Do I refuse because I know how unworthy I am?
Is His love not tangible enough, not "real" enough for me? Do I need to drive the nails into His hands myself to believe that love is more real than the garbage I pursue?
Am I afraid it will be taken away?
Sometimes, I wonder if I want Him to love me less, to have some fuzzy, nebulous, comfortable sense of God instead. A fantasy relationship is always easier than a real one. If I can make a God in the image I desire—my own Golden Calf—its love will demand nothing of me. Not my actions, not my belief, not even my presence.
I can avoid the disruption His Word brings by claiming, "It just doesn't reach me." I can dodge the overwhelming distance and overwhelming nearness that true worship evokes by saying, "I commune with the Divine in my own way." I can sidestep the messiness of community with His Church, of being in over my head with people whose very presence will require forgiveness and whose forgiveness I also need, by lamenting, "I just don't connect with them; I need a break."
Thank you for wanting me, Jesus. Let that be the true North from which I navigate, instead of my own screwed-up sense of direction.