the intolerable compliment

June 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

Whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want…we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.

-C.S. Lewis

I experienced the ‘intolerable compliment’ of love in the form of parental love just yesterday. It is quite intolerable and I’m not sure if it’ll do me as much good as the compliments God gives, but it is a compliment nevertheless.

The parents, specifically the mother, are highly worried about their daughter going to Vancouver. This is because their daughter doesn’t bother eating unless the food is on her table, forgets to bring out her keys sometimes, has bad directions (partly because she would rather sleep instead of looking out of the car window), procrastinates doing SEP stuff, and has ‘floating’ handwriting–evidence of her lack of determination. Basically, she sleeps too much, eats too little and has little ambition.

I know that they love me very much, maybe too much. They’ll travel about settling my SEP stuff with me, nevermind that they’re also as clueless about how to send money overseas, and send me to a friend’s house for CG even though I tell them it’s ok, I’ll just take the taxi/bus and at worst, be really late.

But this is all intolerable because, as much as I need guidance in settling the darn SEP stuff, I do not like someone beside me nagging at me or rushing me. It is intolerable because they are so stressed over my SEP stuff and end up scolding me because they’re so stressed and I’m not.

Ha, I shall reinforce that I’m not complaining! It is ultimately a compliment.

In some ways, parental love reminds us of God’s love. Sometimes, God’s love is indeed intolerable. He loves us so much he allows things to NOT go our way. In times of anguish, His love certainly is quite intolerable. Another blogger (whom I chanced upon quite accidentally) elaborates:

surely, there is no such thing as too much love. Yet, do we live out what we say? We claim to need the Love of God, only to withhold certain unspeakable issues within ourselves. We acknowledge God as the Lord of our lives, but in the depth of our heart, we also struggle for independence. Despite what we proclaim out loud, our lives seem to indicate that we still want time to pursue our own desires, and we whisper, however quietly, that God is “sometimes too loving.”

Yet there’s no point rejecting Him and His love, as C.S. Lewis so aptly puts it, “it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way…God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself”. I agree. I’ve searched, and I find that all my happiness that I thought were found apart from Him, eventually lead back to Him and were of His making.


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