I’m reading in Thomas Goodwin these days, and just can’t understand why my brain (and heart really) isn’t as impressive as his. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who can unpack in such beautiful and devastatingly logical ways BOTH the great depths of human separation from God and the soaring heights of God’s affection for us. This week, I read this:
Your body is made of dust, so that was your mother in a manner of thinking; but that dust was made of the first created earth, without form, so that was your grandmother; but that unformed earth was made purely of nothing; so then, nothing was your great grandmother. That’s your body. Now for your soul, that was immediately created by God out of nothing, and so by that line, your mother was nothing. And what was your soul twenty, thirty, or forty years ago, and so many years before? Plain nothing.*
*Language updated for clarity
Is there lower that we could go? No, we are nothing. From dust (and nothingness before that) and to dust. In ourselves, in our humanity, body and soul, there is an unimaginable gap between us and God. And yet…
Here’s Goodwin, elsewhere, on how God responds to the gap. In reading John chapters 13-17, here’s some of what Goodwin observes:
“It is as if [Jesus] had said, ‘The truth is, I cannot live without you, I shall never be quiet till I have you where I am, so that we may never part again; that is the reason of it. Heaven shall not hold me, nor my Father’s company, if I have not you with me, my heart is set upon you; and if I have any glory, you shall have part of it.’”
Whoa! That’s good stuff, but it’s all the sweeter because we remember how low we are, and therefore how great His love must be to speak this way to the great-grandchildren of nothingness. In fact, if you haven’t read it yet, go read Goodwin’s The Heart of Christ to get a strong dose of the glorious, passionate love of Christ for His Church.