This morning I re-read bits of a book (David Benner's Surrender to Love) that has been very helpful to my own understanding of the love of God.
Here's a quote:
Looking back, I find it remarkable how easily I accepted ideas about God as substitutes for direct experience of him. It took me a long time to begin to know God through my heart and not simply my head. In my depths I longed to really know the God toward whom my heart was drawn. But all I seemed to be able to find was beliefs. I believed that God was love, and if I thought about it, I could see that this meant he loved me. But I didn't know that love in a deep, persistent personal basis. God's love was an idea, not a personal experience.
In later chapters I will say more about how this began to shift for me. But let me be clear at this point that it is possible to know God's love personally, beyond simply knowing about it. The fact that I am deeply loved by God is increasingly the core of my identity, what I know about myself with most confidence...
At the end of that first chapter:
Does it seem hard to believe that when God thinks of you, love swells in his heart and a smile comes to his face?
If your identity does not rest on knowing yourself deeply loved by a God who is head-over-heels in love with you, spend some time prayerfully meditating on several passages. First, however, let me describe what I mean by meditation.
Christian meditation is like spiritual daydreaming. Rather than analyzing or thinking about the passage, simply let yourself soak in it. There is no need to do anything with the words you read. Instead let them do something to you. Don't be preoccupied with examining what is happening. Just allow the words to turn over in your mind and wash over your heart.
Prayerfully reflect on the following passages one at a time, taking as much time for each as you wish...
Here are the passages Benner lists.
- Psalm 23
- Psalm 91
- Psalm 131
- Isaiah 43:1-4
- Isaiah 49:14-16
- Hosea 11:1-4
- Matthew 10:29-31
- Romans 8:31-39