It’s been said that the longest journey is the distance from head to heart. Actually I think this is wrong, it’s quite a short distance; but the road only goes one way and it’s in the other direction. Christianity, our faith, is an exploration of the heart not the head. God is love, so how could it be anything else. The head can understand what the heart finds, and it can guide the search, but you just can’t make your heart believe what the mind thinks unless you really find it.
If our faith is based mainly on what we know, God can seem small and distant. No matter how powerful and amazing God is in our minds, when we pray it’s to the God of our heart. If what we’ve found of God is small, if our faith is small, then God seems far away.
That’s perhaps very depressing, if merely stuffing more knowledge into our heads doesn’t work then what does? If trying to work up an enthusiasm for what we think we know, what we say we believe, isn’t going to get us there, then what can?
Thankfully, Jesus gave us the answer. Jesus said that the hungry will be filled, the thirsty will find satisfaction. That wasn’t meant as consolation, it was Him showing us the way! As we dare to be hungry we’ll find that God doesn’t disappoint us, God isn’t disappointed in us and longs to pour out his life and spirit among us. God loves us. Really loves us. You and me. God wants us to be filled with His love to overflowing and the hungrier we get for His love the more it will happen. Jesus also said seek and you will find. As we reach out with our hearts, longing for God, we can be sure we will find Him.
I’ve long known that my faith is too complicated, I wanted that childlike faith that Jesus spoke of. In fact I would say I was working towards a childlike faith, something that amused my Christian friends. I often saw around me people with a blind faith in a very complicated God, who had lots of rules, and it didn’t seem to work. They weren’t overflowing with life.
My favourite passage of the bible, the one that for me sums up the reason and substance of my faith, is 1 John 4:7-12:
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
I’ve spoken of this often recently, but I guess I’m slow on the uptake because the full impact of this scripture is still only gradually seeping in. Whilst meditating last week it suddenly struck me: I believe in love. I believe in love absolutely. I believe love heals, I believe love is worth living for, I believe there’s nothing else worth living for. I have faith in love, and God is love. And there it was, my childlike faith.
All of a sudden, I could see God in people. I hadn’t even really known what that meant before. Now I can see God at work all around me. Love is strong, love is everywhere, love is at work, and love wins.