A week or so ago, I received an invitation to speak. The topic I was given was “God’s heartbeat.” My first breathless thought was, “What a huge topic! How could I dare to address that?”
Then I remembered I write a blog called Hearing The Heartbeat.
Somehow it feels different. The blog is part of my attempt to pay attention, a weekly glimpse into some tiny corner of the way Mystery and Grace and Love intersect with my small life. It’s an aid to listening, not a presumption that I am an expert on the beat of God’s heart. And it’s an offering to you in the prayerful hope that it will also help you glimpse places God’s heartbeat echoes through your own life.
But as I sit with the topic I was given and my awe around it, I am brought face to face once again with the incredible truth: The God who created neutrons and black holes, bacteria and butterflies and elephants, the gentle curve of our ears and the intricate electrical system that keeps our own hearts beating wants us to hear His heartbeat!
He has designed each of our senses not only to help us know and communicate with each other, but to know and communicate with Him.
Without the eye’s rods and cones, the optic nerve and the visual cortex of the brain, we wouldn’t be able to see the way God’s love overflows far beyond necessary sustenance into the extravagance of turquoise water and cotton-ball clouds and variegated impatiens.
Without the cochlea and the hammer and anvil of the ear, we wouldn’t hear God’s limitless creativity and kindness in birdsong or a Mozart concerto or a baby’s belly laugh.
We receive and share something of God’s protective, compassionate love through the sensors in our skin as a newborn curls her tiny fingers around our larger ones.
All of that is built right into us, our whole selves woven together that we might hear God’s heartbeat.
You’d think blue layered mountains and the wings of a hummingbird would send a pretty clear message of power and creativity and of love—He placed us here to live!—but even eyes that score 20/20 can be sightless when it comes to Love. And so God sent prophets to speak and poets to sing and finally came himself in human form, placing Himself still more directly within the reach of all of our senses (1 John 1:1).
He met his disciples not only through their eyes and ears but also, as he baked bread for them over hot coals, drew on that sense that has the strongest link to emotion and memory—smell. And he met the leper with the sense that best says, “You are accepted”—touch.
He wants us to know His heartbeat!
And He promises we will.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”John 10:27, NIV
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him—
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”1 Corinthians 2:9-10
The promise that we’ll hear God’s voice and his heartbeat is not a promise for an exclusive few, but for all who are His (1 John 2:20-21, 27).
As we look and listen and touch and sniff the beauty around us through which God speaks, as we read the stories of Jesus and listen to His whispers within us, what do we discover? What is God’s heartbeat that he is so eager for us to hear? Well, of course, it’s as rich and full of harmonies and harmonics as one might expect of a God like this, but if one had to describe its core in a single word, what might that word be? Here’s a hint, or three:
“God told them, ‘I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!'”Jer 31:3 The Message
“I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”Romans 8:39-39 The Message
“And I ask [God] that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”Ephesians 3:17-19 The Message
I’m off to enjoy some time resting and celebrating and soaking with my family in God’s love over these next few weeks. (Talking about love, we’ll be celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary!)
I’ll see you back here in September. Until then, may we all be given eyes and ears and hearts open to God’s love, and may God help us to settle a little deeper into his love.
“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love.”John 15:9, The Message