How She Is

It's hard to love an imperfect woman. 
how she's unpredictable for better and worse,
how she goes left
when every good reason goes right.
how she talks clumsy in front of your friends
and bothers the people waiting for the bus,
her dress wrinkled and nose wrinkled,
how she is never all that she could be (yet).
But oh, the evenings together!
how she opens her arms to you and lets you rest.
how she comforts you with words
you forgot that you forgot but needed.
And the days! how beautiful
she is when the light comes over her
just so and in her face you catch his face,
and she is sweeping along with a holy dance
and gathering the children up under her skirts in play
and collecting their laughter in a second alabaster box.
how she cheers with unrestrained volume
for every wet and resurrected sinner,
and how she feasts!
how her heart lives enlarged with hope, 
how her hands are bringing bread to the hungry,
how she sets the table for the poor
and welcomes the rich to sit with us, 
here at the bottom. We feast, we sing, we sing,
we sing, we quiet down and lean back and
look around and see our bridegroom delighted with us
and we know it is hard to love an imperfect woman,
but we thank you, O God, for loving us.

Desiring to be Desired

photo by Paula Leme //

What is love? 

It's a hard word to define, isn't it? French philosopher Yann Dall'Aglio has defined it as "desiring to be desired." (Or in the words of Cheap Trick: "I Want You to Want Me").

Playing with this brief definition for a minute can help us understand ourselves in our world, an aim which Dall'Aglio makes his own. He says that in the modern world our need for love, "desiring to be desired," has created a seduction economy, in which we frantically collect things that we think will make us desirable. In his TEDxParis talk he says: 

It is said in this consumption that our age is materialistic. But it’s not true! We only accumulate objects to communicate with other minds. We do it to make them love us, to seduce them. Nothing could be less materialistic or more sentimental than a teenage boy buying a pair of new jeans and tearing them at the knees –for Jennifer.
— Yann Dall'Aglio

Dall'Aglio is not offering a religious definition of love and the one he offers isn't robust enough to serve that lofty purpose. Still, his brief definition of love is certainly part of what the fullest definition would include, so take one moment to consider it––

God loves you.
He desires that you would desire Him.
When He thinks about you (all the time), He hopes that you would think of Him, that you would turn toward Him, that you might say His name, might say thank you, might tell Him what's on your mind, might smile when you consider His gifts, might yearn for Him, might be with Him. 
He desires that you would desire Him. 

Our Redeemer thirsts for recognition. He hungers for the sympathy and love of those whom He has purchased with His own blood. He longs with inexpressible desire that they should come to Him and have life. As the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her little child, which tells of the dawning of intelligence, so does Christ watch for the expression of grateful love, which shows that spiritual life is begun in the soul.
— Ellen G White, Desire of Ages (191)

the flood & why

I was thinking about the flood -- the whole-earth mabbul  that swallowed the world with water and drowned almost every living thing.

I was thinking about the tragedy.

And thinking, Why couldn't God have destroyed the violence without destroying the people? Why couldn't He have fixed the world without destroying humans? Why did God do this unthinkable thing?

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was very great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land..."
Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them."  [gen6]

Corruption, rottenness. Evil continually. Filled with violence.

And it grieved Him to His heart.

All the things we hate about this life. Extortion and exploitation. Using and abusing people, the animals, and the land. Plotting, conniving, manipulating. Predation and discarding the weak. Debasement, debauchery. Rivers and pools of pain that multiplied until it all became a flood.

Why couldn't God have destroyed all of that pain without destroying the people?

>> Because God could not separate unwilling sinners from their sin. 

And right now we're in the world millennia after that big flood and I look around and sometimes I'm struck with the beauty of a common rabbit just really enjoying himself in a patch of grass and clover, but a lot of times I'm sickened in the stomach with the realities of corruption, rottenness, evil continually, and violence, just disgusted with all the pain. 

And in these situations we ask God why He doesn't put an end to it. 

But when He tells us that He will, we ask Him why He'd do such a thing in destroying the earth with fire. 

Why can't God just destroy all the pain without destroying people?

>> Because God cannot separate unwilling sinners from their sin.

He'll do so much! He will wait with the patience that even the saints cannot fathom. He'll send His Spirit and His message of rescue and restoration and give every invitation to a people who have stopped up their ears. He will put up with the pain that only an infinite heart can feel. He will consider all the privileges of divinity as something to be set aside, and He will make Himself nothing, and He will be born as a man and will humble Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross. He will pour out every good thing He has and everything He is to save as many as He can from destroying themselves. 

But what He'll never do is force someone into holiness and love. What He'll never do is wrestle away their power of choice, leaving their robot bodies alive and pretending that they're still human. 

God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. And this is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. [jn3]

. . . . . . .

A beautiful song that gives voice to a common question. (but: language warning!)

We Need to Clasp A Hand That Is Warm

This warmed my heart so much. I want these words to be my own. 

Read this aloud to help you hear it.

What am I to think when my spirit is sad and longing?

It was the Maker of all things who ordained the wonderful adaptation of means to end, of supply to need. It was He who in the material world provided that every desire implanted should be met. It was He who created the human soul, with its capacity for knowing and for loving. And He is not in Himself such as to leave the demands of the soul unsatisfied. No intangible principle, no impersonal essence or mere abstraction, can satisfy the needs and longings of human beings in this life of struggle with sin and sorrow and pain. It is not enough to believe in law and force, in things that have no pity, and never hear the cry for help. We need to know of an almighty arm that will hold us up, of an infinite Friend that pities us. We need to clasp a hand that is warm, to trust in a heart full of tenderness. And even so has God in His word revealed Himself.

Ellen G. White, Education (page 133)

It was God who created the human soul, with its capacity for knowing and for loving.