When God rejoices

prodigal_son 3

God rejoices. Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because all human pain and suffering have come to an end, nor because thousands of people have been converted and are now praising him for his goodness. No, God rejoices because one of his children who was lost has been found. What I am called to is to enter into that joy. It is God’s joy, not the joy that the world offers. It is the joy that comes from seeing a child walk home amid all the destruction, devastation, and anguish of the world…

Surely I will be called naive, unrealistic, and sentimental, and I will be accused of ignoring the “real” problems, the structural evils that underlie much of human misery.

But God rejoices when
one repentant sinner returns.
Statistically that is not very interesting.
But for God, numbers
never seem to matter.

Who knows whether the world is kept from destruction because of one, two, or three people who have continued to pray when the rest of humanity has lost hope and dissipated itself?

From God’s perspective, one hidden act of repentance, one little gesture of selfless love, one moment of true forgiveness is all that is needed to bring God from his throne to run to his returning son and to fill the heavens with sounds of divine joy.

–Henry Nouwen
The Return of the Prodigal
(emphasis added)

 

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Love that cannot be earned

Do I really believe that I am loved first, independent of what I do or what I accomplish? This is an important question because as long as I think that what I most need I have to earn, deserve and collect by hard work, I will never get what I most need and desire, which is a love that cannot be earned, but that is freely given. Thus, my return is my willingness to renounce such thoughts and to choose to live more and more from my true identity as a cherished child of God.

–Henry Nouwen

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