You see it on bumper stickers, on pamphlets, on church signs. “God loves you”.
I almost wish there was another way of saying it sometimes. Another way that is not so overused and common. But no matter how someone says it, the reality is that once you experience the tangible love of God, you realize that it is far from common– it is transforming.
Having young children, I have been faced with the challenge of explaining God’s transcendent love in a way that is simple and concrete. A few amazing teachers in my life have shown me that we can see our hearts like a sponge, and God as the source of all that is good. I loved this image and realized how true it is in my life.
I realized that our hearts are like sponges in 3 ways:
1. We were made to be”filled up” and satisfied.
2. As life happens by we get “rung out”, and we release into our environment whatever it is that we have soaked up along our way.
3. There are endless options of what can fill the porous pockets of our hearts and lives.
With a need to be filled up, a reality of getting “rung out” and endless options to soak up, the question remains: Whom or what has the ability to not only fill our lives, but to satisfy and transform us so that when we are rung out, we drip with goodness?
What do we do, when we realize that the religious habits, the relational networks and the rituals of our daily life do not fill our hearts like we had hoped?
What do we do when every time we make a change in our lives that we hope will bring happiness (a new house, a new job, a new club, a new circle of friends) we end up feeling drained and disappointed, again?
What do we do when we find that nothing we’ve tried seems to satisfy the relentless thirst of our heart-sponge?
Over the years, I have tried to satisfy my heart-sponge with affirmation from people. With being a super good person with super high morals and super high achievements. Did it work? Well, maybe for a while, but then I realized that I had built myself up on a flimsy and rootless tower of self-righteousness that crumbled beneath me.
Deep down inside I know that the One Thing that will satisfy is not found in my accomplishments, in the opinions of others, or in my own ability to be strong and independent.
I was made for God’s love. His love is the only thing that will give me roots and strength. His love is the only place of rest for my restless heart.
I cannot deny this simple truth I have discovered and now base my life upon:
I am a sponge and He is the greatest source of satisfaction.
It’s a glorious thing, really, to be a sponge, to be filled with Him and to drip out His goodness, His grace, His peace, His acceptance, His love wherever we go.
If you feel like your love-sponge is in need of saturation with heaven’s living water, please pray this prayer with me, and start afresh with God:
I was made to receive your Love. Pour it out in my life. You have more than enough love to fill me up. You made me to be a person who is filled with peace and connected to the Source of satisfaction. You have great things in store for me. I want more of You than what I have had before. I want to be satisfied by You.
Take me on a journey, where my “sponge” is filled up by your never-ending, never-failing love. Show me your heart-for me, for my family and friends, and for my world. Fill me up, and ring me out- that Your living, thirst-quenching water will flow through the core of my being and into the lives everyone I encounter today.
Your love is better than life.
You have made us, O Lord, for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. (Confessions of St. Augustine, 1)