"Human feelings cannot touch him; human thought cannot measure him. Experiences cannot heighten the certainty of his presence any more than fear of his absence can lessen it...God's love and mercy are too great and too lasting to depend on the rise and fall of his frail creatures. Clouds may shroud our soul in darkness, but above them the sun shines brightly; God's mercy never fails...There we will pray in peace and silence, attentive to the God who never changes." Brennan Manning
As I read Brennan's devotional, 'Reflections for Ragamuffins', I consistently come away with a deeper sense of trusting Abba. The quote above particularly grabbed me, and embraced my hurt and wandering heart. To think that in times of sorrow I am blessed by communing with the man of sorrows, or in times of grief I find myself embraced by the Comforter. It's all quite overwhelming. The shear idea that regardless of the intense ride my emotions take me on; from feeling overwhelmed by joy and significance, and in the next moment finding myself despondent and hopeless, regardless of how I plummet or arise, my God is found never changing. In fact, I think it this aspect of God, His immutability (unchanging consistency as a loving, redeeming Father) is what so many folks, myself included, desperately long for.
Regardless of the dark clouds which seem to suddenly spring up over the horizon and darken my spirit, leaving me feeling bankrupt and smitten with gloom, Abba seeks me out, like the woman searching for her lost coin in a dark house with a bright lantern (Luke 15:8). The light of His word does not dampen or darken, rather it seems to shine all the brighter in darkness. This reminds me of a time when I was stuck in a cave with only one lamp, which a friend took ahead to seek out an escape. The utter blackness of the cave seemed to weigh on me like a real force putting pressure on my mind and body. When my friend brought back the light it seemed to penetrate everything, all the crevices and corners, letting me see myself and my situation with clarity. The infinitely strong Word seems to have this same effect as it allows me to see myself clear of self-delusion.
In saying this I realize how many times we seek out this Light only to be disappointed in not finding Him sooner than later. Brennan provoked me to think of this question, 'Is it worth the suffering, disappointment, heartbreak, and loneliness to learn that Abba's love and mercy does not change?' I'm afraid to answer that question. I can wholeheartedly say up to this point as I so often feel lost in the wilderness (then nudged and coaxed into trusting Abba, being led further towards wholeness in Him), there has repeatedly been built up in me a firmer sense of His trustworthiness (which is wholly independent of my own doubts and mistrust). Is it worth a life in the wilderness to learn of His trustworthiness, love and fondness of me? If it weren't for fear I could answer with a resounding 'Yes!', and yet even now I find myself doubtful, mistrusting. I believe this was Brennan's point. I can plead to Abba in the wilderness simply because He is unchanging, His love and mercy never fail. My mistrust, doubt and unfaithfulness do not deter the Great Lover from beckoning to me:
'Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.'
Song of Solomon 2:10