“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
God is a true Father. No matter how far or close to Him, we may be, He is always, without a doubt, near to us and watching over us every second of every day. This is because He is love, so He loves everyone not because of who we are but because of who HE is. He does not choose to love, His love is His nature and unchangeable and unconditional, always ready to take us and hold us tight in His arms. Though we are so undeserving of His undeniable love, God not only loves us, but He notices us and takes good care of us. On top of that, His love is unshakeable, even when we don’t look at Him and talk to Him the way we ought to. Listen to how He tells us “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:16)
Life inevitably hits us with one thing after another, and this can often shake our faith and make us forget about this love God freely gives that is purely uncircumstantial and so deep. Personally, I find myself getting distracted and straying away when I am stressed or distracted by earthly matters. So, how can I be centered on trusting God and growing in my love for Him more and more each and every day?
We truly have so much to be thankful for in our lives, including both the good and the bad. When our thoughts stray towards mindless daydreaming and distractions, simply thinking about the minute details of our life or the big things like our friends and family can be a reminder to us to give thanks to God and His overflowing blessings in our lives. A simple bus ride from one campus to another can be a reminder to take some time to breathe and thank God for His goodness. We can also be mindful of God in our studies, remembering that our diligence and sacrifices are not overlooked and are a beautiful gift to God and from God. This is because He gives us the ability to learn, and He loves when we use our gifts. Just think of the story of the talents. He continuously gives us the strength to study, and the ability to remember and comprehend. “I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel” (Psalm 16:7). Therefore, always giving thanks and being mindful of the work of God in our lives helps us want to continue to walk in love with God and share God’s overflowing love with the world around us.
Prayer is a statement of love. I often find myself being repetitive in prayer out of laziness, and lack of self-examination. If I were to be constantly mindful of all God has done in my life and be honest with Him, then I would be able to properly express my love to Him and want to spend more time speaking to Him. I can strengthen my prayer life with small retreats to spend time with God. He knows all things. So many times I’m broken down and at a loss for words, but Anba Gabriel reminds us of a simple prayer “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.” This can be a reminder to us that simply opening our hearts to God and making the effort to spend time with Him is a huge part of taking that small step into His arms. And when, for whatever reason, we are unable to fully love God with all our hearts, we pray and ask Him to teach us to love Him and soften our hearts, so that one day our desire to be with Him may be the only thing that occupies our minds.
Glory be to God forever. Amen.