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Falling in Love with God Transforms our Total Outlook on Life and Existence

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“Falling in love” with God is not something we can explain rationally, logically or analytically. How do we explain something that is not tangible but can only be felt from within the innermost core of our souls? How do we explain what it feels like to love God—really love Him from deep within our very being? We cannot explain this love anymore than explaining how mango tastes to a foreigner who has not eaten mango all throughout his life!

I am not also sure if I can explain how it feels to fall in love with God, but every time I read Sufi stories and the narratives on the lives of saints in every religious tradition, and when such particular spiritual anecdote touched my heart, I just feel that the story made me fall in love with God once again. If I had to say something about some songs and how these make me fall in love with God again and again—I mean not necessarily spiritual hymns, but even secular love songs—there are just words in them that made me fall in ecstasy causing me to love God once again, this time with more intensity and pathos. For instance, I just can’t describe my feelings in words, but listening to Kate Rusby’s haunting yet soulful song “Underneath the Stars”, makes me weep profusely and makes me feel that this Merciful Abyss of Love is reaching out to me underneath the stars—bidding me to embrace Him from the depths of my own frail existence.

Likewise, there are times when it simply occurred to my inward spirit, that I am too overwhelmed with the thought that God could still love me so much despite all my failings, errors, stubbornness and weaknesses. God’s love to me is constant despite my warts and all! In the comforting words of the Holy Scriptures: “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee!” (Jeremiah 31:3. Authorized Anglican Version [KJV, 1611]). The Lord assures me in this scriptural passage that despite of who I am and what I have done, God loves me with His everlasting love. Realizing this unfathomable yet unmerited grace from our loving God makes me weep within the inner privacy of my own heart, and makes me fall in love with this tender-hearted God more and more.

Just this morning, I read a beautiful story coming from a great Sufi saint of Islam, Hazreti Fariduddin Attar which really touched my heart. Permit me to narrate at length the whole Sufi story:

One of the moths among the group of light-seeking moths went to a castle and saw the light of a candle from within. Upon returning, the moth reported what he saw, but the philosopher moth among them said: “He has no real information to give about the candle.” Then another moth visited the candle, passed close to the light, drawing near to it and touching the flame with its wings. He too came back and explained something of the foretaste of what union with the candle meant to him, but the philosopher moth said to him: “Your explanation is really worth no more than that of your comrades.” Then, a third moth rose up and threw himself ecstatically into the candle’s flame. As he entered completely into its embrace, all parts of his frail body became glowing red like the flame itself. The philosopher moth saw what happened from afar that the candle had identified the moth with itself and had given the moth its very own flaming light. The philosopher moth said with tears in his eyes: “Only that moth who sacrificed his life to the flame truly understood that to which he has attained—the light itself. None other knows the secret of the light except that moth who became one with the light! But alas for me, I am out here still analyzing what it takes to attain that light!” (Note: This Sufi story is taken from, Hazreti Shaykh Fariduddin Attar’s book, The Passion of the Lovers of God [Lahore Pakistan: Islamic Spirituality Publications, 1996; pp. 13-19.] from where I freely adapted and condensed the story for this present article.)

How do I explain in faltering yet grateful words this “falling in love with God”? It is feeling the ecstatic love of the lover to his Beloved. It is total letting-go of oneself to the Most Intimate and Affectionate One. It is total surrender, giving your heart completely to the “Loving Mother/Father” Who loves you now, Who has loved you always, and Who will unconditionally and eternally love you from aeon to aeon. Falling in love with the Beloved—it is finding that deep abiding peace in the arms of the Most Loving One that passes beyond all knowledge and beyond all understanding. Falling in love with God is also being loved by God in return. This exhilarating experience of divine reciprocity carries the immense joy of realizing that you are indeed the beloved of an All-Loving God Who never tires in pursuing you with that strong and constant loving-kindness—despite your worthiness or unworthiness!

Being loved by God is to know that your worth is not dependent on what you have achieved or accomplished, or in what you have become; but that you are loved by the Beloved even before the foundation of the cosmos. Being loved by God is when you feel that God will never abandon you no matter how you fail Him again and again. He did not despair with me when I myself willingly ran away from His loving embrace onto the cruel embrace of everything that is not Him. He pursued me, wooed me, captured me and finally attracted me to Himself—that the only thing I know as my honest response to this Everlasting Loving-Kindness is to absolutely yield to Him this time around—and this time around, I will not let go of Him. In the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther: “Oh Lord Thou hast won, at length I yield into the sweetness of Thy embrace that I so missed in all those days of my being a stubborn vagabond away from Thy redeeming love!” (See, Short Prayers of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther. Manchester, UK: Institute of Reformation Spirituality, 1992; pp. 83.)… Now those words made me weep while typing this essay. This very day, I likewise whisper these words to Him: “Lord, Thou hast won; at length I yield… save me from myself and take me to Yourself. I am coming home to Your embrace—coming home and never more to roam. I have come to you, the Enticer of my soul. I come to Your embracing Arms solely through your mercy and grace.” Amen, a thousand times Amen to this amazing God of infinite love and tender compassion!

 

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