“God is a Strange Lover”

A Sunday-poem from Jessica Powers:

God is a Strange Lover

God is the strangest of all lovers; His ways are past explaining.
He sets His heart on a soul; He says to Himself, “Here will I rest my love.”
But He does not woo her with flowers or jewels or words that are set to music,
no name endearing, no kindled praise His heart’s direction prove.
His jealousy is an infinite thing.  He stalks the soul with sorrows;
He tramples the bloom; He blots the sun that could make her vision dim.
He robs and breaks and destroys–there is nothing at last but her own shame, her own affliction,
and then He comes and there is nothing in the vast world but Him and her love of Him.

Not till the great rebellions die and her will is safe in His hands forever
does He open the door of light and His tendernesses fall,
and then for what is seen in the soul’s virgin places,
for what is heard in the heart, there is no speech at all.

God is a strange lover; the story of His love is most surprising.
There is no proud queen in her cloth of gold; over and over again
there is only, deep in the soul, a poor disheveled woman weeping . . .
for us who have need of a picture and words: the Magdalen.

~Jessica Powers

7 thoughts on ““God is a Strange Lover”

  1. Thanks, Dorcee. This was good for me to read tonight. I pray I get to that point in my relationship with Him that it is just He and I. Thank you for posting this.

  2. Thank you so much, Dorcee. I wish He would woo me with flowers and gifts and words and sweet music… for as yet rebellion lies deep within …I wish it is already now that this willful soul has surrendered to her Lover completely! But that moment is not yet… my heart still has to KNOW that to Him alone I belong, that all is dross, that He indeed is sufficient.

  3. Somebody gave me a copy of this poem probably some time in the 90’s. (Recently I decided to Google the title and I found this blog.) I recognized myself in it immediately. Then about ten years ago I went through an unwanted separation and eventual divorce. Little did I realize the “wooing” was just getting up to speed! Here is what I wrote to a friend in 2006 when I received the final divorce papers:

    Because I let it
    pierce me, did not evade it (no big deal, I knew it was coming, been
    years now) or rebel against it (screw her, who needs her, not fair!)
    I discovered Christ at the heart of its hell. And thus there was a
    blessing, the great gift of knowing I was immersed in the heart of
    Christ’s redemptive mission.

    The wound is terrible, yet it is wonderful.

    It really is all about the mystery of the Cross of Christ. But it is very counter cultural, even in the Church (I’m speaking existentially). We all want to evade this truth to one degree or another, and I still do. To discover the eros of God as a non innocent adult, we must accept to be plunged into the mystery of Christ’s abandonment on the Cross.

    Well, not today, thank you. That is a vulnerability few of us can accept wholeheartedly!

    But in the end it will come whether we desire it or not.

    I do consider it a blessing to know just how much I miss God.

    1. Thank you so much, Paul, for your comments on this poem. It is such a powerful poem, isn’t it? May God continue this deep work He is doing in your soul . . .

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