After observing God's love for the little hazelnut, Julian of Norwich reflects on the similar care of the creator for humankind:
If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.― Julian of Norwich
As we enter this month of love, we are surrounded by images of "perfect love" which transports us above the troubles in life into perfect bliss. Just as love between humans is not always "perfect" in this way, God's love for us isn't always filled with chocolate and diamonds. Julian of Norwhich lived as a Benedictine nun in the late 1300's in England, and her book "The Revelations of Divine Love" is believed to be the oldest surviving manuscript of literature written by a woman in English. She is well remembered because she wrote about God's love in a way that was different than other theologians. Many spoke of the evil nature of humans, who God could only love because of Christ's sacrifice. She spoke of a romantic and extravagant love from a creator for the created, and she explained suffering as a fact of life and not a punishment for falling out of this love with God. She had survived a terrible sickness and had seen many, most likely her entire family, suffer from the Bubonic Plaugue which had spread all across Europe. The church had diagnosed this sickness as punishment for wicked living, but she spoke about suffering as a pathway of union with Christ, through whom God connects with us in our pain.
Many people know her famous quote which says that, "All manner of things shall be well." A better translation reveals a message she received from God, where she heard a voice say this: "I may make all things well, I can make all thing well, and I will make all thing well, and I shall make all things well, and you shall see yourself that all manner of things shall be well". God's love is so powerful that we can't imagine the ways that all things will be made well, but we believe through faith, that they shall be.
I write this as a young wife-to-be, who is entering into marriage with an open and joyful heart. I love Robbie with my whole being, and the more we get to know each other, the more we love each other. Even though we have our "love to keep us warm", we know there will be storms of life ahead as there are for all of us. Just as Julian described, I look forward to the troubles not as trials to pass or fail, but opportunities to grow closer to each other and to God. Whatever season you find yourself in, winter, spring, summer or fall, I pray that you will discover the relentless love of our creator and redeemer, who wants to make all things well in our lives. I pray that you too will see it in your life!