Then we come to understand the dimensions of heaven; then we see things as they really are, and we see God as really God!
But then, too, we realize that this cannot last, that in order to keep its gratuitous quality, the fragrance of that hour must be paid for in a harsh and severe way.
Perhaps because it would all be too beautiful?
Perhaps because contemplation would destroy the roots of action?
Perhaps because you would never again get anything done, as though you were on too perfect a honeymoon?
Perhaps because heaven would start here and now, whereas the way is still long, and possession of the Beloved is feeble?
Yes, all this and many other things are true
But there is one other thing which seems to me still more true, and I understood it only very late:
You would not be free any longer.
And God is terribly concerned about your freedom in loving him.
He knows that you can be suffocated by the greatness and the quantity of his gifts.
It is difficult to make a marriage between two persons who are in such different circumstances.
[God] brings you his all, while you can only bring him your nothing.
How can one set about reconciling such differences?
How can he be certain that you are not seeking him out of self-interest?
That you are not going to him only because you have found no one else?
That you are not going to him for the pleasure you get out of it?
That would be too easy and too shallow a love.
When the Bible says that God is a jealous God, it is speaking truly.
But God’s jealousy is not like ours. He is jealous because he is afraid that, instead of loving him in his naked being, we love his creation, his riches, his gifts, the joy he bestows, the peace he brings, and Truth he makes us a present of.
God is not only jealous in his love. He is tragic. Before making you his, before letting himself be possessed, he tears you to shreds-—rather, he makes history tear you to shreds…
For much of my life, I asked myself why God acted in such a strange way.
Why is he silent so long? Why is faith so bitter?
He can do everything, so why does he not reveal himself to us in a more sensational way?
What would it cost him to come out into the streets, among those who cry ”God does not exist,” give a hard slap to the noisiest, and say—better still, shout—”Don’t believe these fools! I am here indeed! To convince you, let’s make an appointment to meet tomorrow evening in Leningrad’s museum of atheism. You’ll see what I’ll do! I’ll crush you and reduce you to souvenir envelopes!”
But it seems that God does his best to remain silent, as if to demonstrate that he does not exist, that it is useless for us to follow him, that we would do better if we went all out to possess the earth.
And are there not those who, when faced with his silence, convince themselves that he does not exist? And are there not others who are scandalized merely by the way the world goes?
If God exists, why evil? If God is love, why sorrow?
If God is a Father, why death?
If I have knocked, why has he not opened to me?
I used to think all this and more, when I was new to this school.
But then, walking patiently, not allowing myself to become frightened off by the first difficulties, hounding his door with the determination of a man on a hunger strike, and, above all, believing his gospel true and unrelenting, I began to see the way things are, I began to discover how God goes about what he is doing, I began to distinguish his stealthy footsteps. . .
It was for him to open it, not me, always in a hurry.
Sin lies in Adam’s haste, and my lust for possession is stronger than my true love for him. Wait! Oh, the anguish of that “wait,” the emptiness of that absence!
But then, little by little, I began to understand, as never before, that he was present in the emptiness, in the waiting.
—From The God Who Comes