Of Magnets and Men
Have you every wondered why it's God that we call out to on our death bed? When we finally come face-to-face with our demise, why do we suddenly find ourselves in a frantic prayer? Or after rejecting God our entire lives and pushing Him away, we hit rock-bottom emotionally, physically, or spiritually and then and only then do we cry out for help. Why now in our feelings of helplessness, loneliness, and despair do we long for He who created us?
Our Desire for God
All of us, built in the image and likeness of our creator, have an natural longing for God, whether we acknowledge it or not, especially when we find ourselves in a difficult situation in our lives. But to call upon Him only when you want something is to use Him and it has always bothered me that we do this. As Christians we should lead Christ-centered lives, but we are in trouble when God becomes our last resort.
“We naturally desire God, the source of all joy. We are drawn to joy because we are drawn to God.” ~ St. Augustine
We are naturally drawn to Him, whether we seek Him or not, and the closer we come to Him the stronger that pull becomes. I remember as a young child discovering the unique ability of a magnet. I found it amazing that as I held it just above the sand in the sandbox, some of the tiny particles would be drawn up to the magnet. So if God is the magnet and we are those tiny iron particles, even if we are oblivious to the existence of the magnet, the strength of the magnet, or the effect the magnet has on us, it continues to draw us closer. It is only when the distance between ourselves and the magnet becomes too great that the pull is too weak to grab ahold of us. Interesting that distance from God for eternity is how Hell is defined.
The Catholic Church sums this up in paragraph 27 of the Catechism:
“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.”
God is always drawing us closer to himself and he never gives up on us. He speaks to us, he reaches out to us, and he calls us, but our lives are full of distractions that disrupt the pull between us and him. That bond, that relationship between man and our creator can be pushed to the side by all the preoccupations in our busy lives. When we come to believe that material gain and physical appearance are the only ways to measure wealth, success, and happiness, false gods have come into the picture. These things come between us and our God making it more and more difficult for us to find him. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t seek these things, but our purpose in life is not to spend 3 hours a day in the gym perfecting our figure or working our fingers to the bone day and night so we can buy a bigger house and faster car.
God Never Ceases to Call Us
God never ceases to call us. He never stops reaching out to us. He never gives up on us. St. Paul describes this promise in his letter to the Romans 8:38-39.
“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Another interesting thing I learned as I played with that magnet in the sandbox, was that as the particles were pulled closer to the magnet they would clump together, as if they were reaching out to each other. So as we come closer to God and our relationship, that pull between us and Him, becomes stronger we are drawn not only closer to Him, but closer to each other. The love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the unity of the Holy Trinity, is a model of perfect love for us. So as we learn to love like Him, we grow in love for each other. In fact, the Lord himself taught this to His disciples in John 13:34-35.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Looking back I realize that I was being pulled by the “magnet” even before I acknowledge it’s existence. God was always there and always will be. My choice to pursue Him doesn’t change that, but it has proven to change me.