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Sometimes you just need to cry. Like, really cry. Not that chest-tightening, lip-biting, eye-moistening stuff those of us who are emotional might experience every other day at the drop of a hat (or spilled milk, or recited poem) but the really hard, soul-searching, heart-wrenching, stomach-gutting, God-clinging stuff. The kind that makes you wonder why you’re crying so hard in the first place.

Usually, in my case, such crying need not come more than once or twice a year. And it finally came one night last week.

It doesn’t really matter what sleep-deprived, over-stressed, convoluted thoughts sprung this episode… it suffices to say that it was long over-due and as my “Why, God?”s rose from my tears and suppressed sobs an affirmation formed unbidden in my prayer… “I love you, Lord.” 

I suppose there is nothing all that shocking in this. It wasn’t something I didn’t already know, but it was something so miraculously clear that it dispelled all other doubts and thoughts.

We love Him because He first loved us… and this is Love that He loved us and sent His son. (1 John 4:19/10)

It was like what Keller says—how sometimes God strips away all the earthly joys and pleasures, leads us by the hand out to the desert, to see if we love Him for His own sake—or for all the “stuff.” It was like that moment which C.S. Lewis describes in Till We Have Faces, that climactic scene when Orual comes with her complaint against the gods, her written-out drama of life-long trauma, and utters those words which have long been my all-time favorite quote:

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” – Till We Have Faces

Midst a tennis-match of reality and perception, theology and feeling, in my pitiful acknowledgement of love I was reminded that my offering, of trust and awe, sprung from a flood of love so strong I was powerless against it. That it was founded in a deathdeath for me—the sacrifice of God. That as I loved it was only because THIS true and mighty, passionate Capital L-Love was cradling me in His arms. And nothing, neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [me] from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-9)

And all my problems seemed terribly small after that wonderful remembrance. And a song plays in my head every time I recall it…

I love You, Lord

And I lift my hands

To worship You,

O, My Soul, Rejoice!

Take joy, my King

In what You hear

May it be a sweet,

Sweet sound in Your ear.

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